Characterization of airborne particle release from nanotechnology-enabled clothing products

  • Leonardo Calderón
  • Letao Yang
  • Ki-Bum Lee
  • Gediminas MainelisEmail author
Research Paper


This study investigated airborne particle release from 17 nanotechnology-enabled clothing items, including 10 items that were advertised as containing silver nanoparticles and 1 item with silver materials. Clothing wear was simulated using an abrader, where the rotating clothing samples came in contact with felt abrader wheels, and size distribution and concentration of the released particles were measured using a scanning mobility particle sizer and aerodynamic particle sizer. Through the use of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, silver was detected in all 11 products advertised as containing silver, and its concentration varied from approximately 1 ppm to ~ 1.5 × 105 ppm depending on the product. Nano-sized particles, as well as larger agglomerates, were released from all investigated products with concentrations as high as ~ 2 × 104 particles/cm3; the concentration and size distribution varied substantially from product to product, and silver-based clothing tended to release smaller and higher number concentrations of particles than products where fibers were formulated using nanotechnology. Examination of the released particles using TEM confirmed the presence of manufactured nanoparticles; airborne sample analysis using SEM/EDS showed that the released particles contained Ag as well as other metals. This study can be valuable for the risk assessment of nanotechnology-based consumer goods, especially clothing containing silver.


Nanotechnology-enabled consumer products Nanoparticles Nanotechnology Nanotechnology-enabled clothing Nanotechnology-enabled fabrics Particle release Exposure Silver nanoparticles 



This work was supported by the NSF (CBET-1236508), the NIH-NIEHS (1T32ES019854), the NIH-NIEHS Center for Environmental Exposures and Disease (CEED) at Rutgers University (P30 ES005022), and the New Jersey Agriculture and Experiment Station (NJAES) at Rutgers University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11051_2018_4435_MOESM1_ESM.docx (216 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 216 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesRutgers, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and Chemical BiologyRutgers, The State University of New JerseyPiscatawayUSA

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