Prospective environmental life cycle assessment of nanosilver t-shirts

Walser, T., Demou, E. , Lang, D.J. and Hellweg, S. (2011) Prospective environmental life cycle assessment of nanosilver t-shirts. Environmental Science and Technology, 45(10), pp. 4570-4578. (doi: 10.1021/es2001248)

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A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) is performed to compare nanosilver T-shirts with conventional T-shirts with and without biocidal treatment. For nanosilver production and textile incorporation, we investigate two processes: flame spray pyrolysis (FSP) and plasma polymerization with silver co-sputtering (PlaSpu). Prospective environmental impacts due to increased nanosilver T-shirt commercialization are estimated with six scenarios. Results show significant differences in environmental burdens between nanoparticle production technologies: The "cradle-to-gate" climate footprint of the production of a nanosilver T-shirt is 2.70 kg of CO2-equiv (FSP) and 7.67-166 kg of CO2-equiv (PlaSpu, varying maturity stages). Production of conventional T-shirts with and without the biocide triclosan has emissions of 2.55 kg of CO2-equiv (contribution from triclosan insignificant). Consumer behavior considerably affects the environmental impacts during the use phase. Lower washing frequencies can compensate for the increased climate footprint of FSP nanosilver T-shirt production. The toxic releases from washing and disposal in the life cycle of T-shirts appear to be of minor relevance. By contrast, the production phase may be rather significant due to toxic silver emissions at the mining site if high silver quantities are required

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Demou, Dr Evangelia
Authors: Walser, T., Demou, E., Lang, D.J., and Hellweg, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Environmental Science and Technology
Journal Abbr.:EST
Publisher:American Chemical Society
ISSN (Online):1520-5851

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