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Are silver nanoparticles safe? Implications for health, the environment and microbial resistance

 

Glossary over Are silver nanoparticles safe?

Absorption

The process of taking in. For a person or an animal, absorption is the process of a substance getting into the body through the eyes, skin, stomach, intestines, or lungs. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

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Antimicrobial

An antimicrobial is a chemical substance which, at low concentrations, exerts an action against micro-organisms and destroys them or inhibits their growth.

Examples of antimicrobials targeting bacteria include antibiotics that act against infections in humans or animals and biocides such as disinfectants and preservatives. (Source: GreenFacts)

Bacteria

Bacteria are a major group of micro-organisms that live in soil, water, plants, organic matter, or the bodies of animals or people. They are microscopic and mostly unicellular, with a relatively simple cell structure.

Some bacteria cause diseases such as tetanus, typhoid fever, pneumonia, syphilis, cholera, and tuberculosis.

Bacteria play a role in the decomposition of organic matter and other chemical processes. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Bacterial resistance

Bacterial resistance is the capacity of bacteria to withstand the effects of antibiotics or biocides that are intended to kill or control them. (Source: GreenFacts, based on the  SCENIHR opinion on Antibiotic Resistance Effects of Biocides )

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Cell

The basic subunit of any living organism; the simplest unit that can exist as an independent living system. There are many different types of cells in complex organisms such as humans, each with specific characteristics. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Compound(s)

A material made up of two or more elements combined in a fixed ratio. (Source: CoRIS glossary  )

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Concentration

The amount of a chemical or substance present in a particular quantity of soil, water, air, food, blood, hair, urine, breath, or any other media. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Disinfectant(s)

A chemical or physical process that kills or inactivates microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. (Source: US EPA US EPA Drinking Water Glossary  )

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In vitro

In an artificial environment outside a living organism or body. For example, some toxicity testing is done on cell cultures or slices of tissue grown in the laboratory, rather than on a living animal. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Micro-organism

Any living organism that is too small to be seen by the naked eye such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, single-celled algae, and many types of fungi. (Source: GreenFacts)

Nanomaterial

Material with one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, at nanoscale and which could exhibit novel characteristics compared to the same material at a larger scale. (Source: based on SCENIHR's opinion on the  appropriateness of existing methodologies to assess the potential risks associated with engineered and adventitious products of nanotechnologies )

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Nanometre

Unit of length equal to one millionth of a millimetre (10-9 m). (Source: GreenFacts)

Nanoparticle

Particle with one or more dimensions of the order of about 100 millionth of a millimetre (100 nm) or less.

(Note: In the SCENIHR  opinion on the appropriateness of existing methodologies to assess the potential risks associated with engineered and adventitious products of nanotechnologies, nanoparticles are considered to have two or more dimensions at the nanoscale) (Source: GreenFacts )

Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) was set up in 2004 by the European Commission to provide the Commission with unambiguous scientific advice on the safety of a series of issues requiring a comprehensive assessment of the risks, such as new technologies, medical devices, etc.

The SCENIHR advice is intended to enable risk managers to take the adequate and required actions in order to guarantee consumer safety or public health.

The SCENIHR addresses questions concerning emerging or newly-identified risks and on broad, complex or multi-disciplinary issues requiring a comprehensive assessment of risks to consumer safety or public health and related issues not covered by other Community risk- assessment bodies.

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks is composed of a maximum of 13 members, but for any specific question may enlist the support of up to six associated members selected on the basis of their expertise. There is also a reserve list made up of candidates found suitable for a position in a Scientific Committee but not appointed. The members of the SCENIHR are appointed on the basis of their skills and experience in the fields in question, and consistent with this a geographical distribution that reflects the diversity of scientific problems and approaches in the European Union (EU). The experts' term of office is three years and is renewable for a maximum of three consecutive times. In agreement with the Commission, the Scientific Committees may turn to specialised external experts.

The SCENIHR complies with the principles of independence, transparency and confidentiality. The members therefore make a declaration of commitment to act in the public interest and a declaration of interests; requests for opinions, agendas, minutes and opinions are published; work and publications are done with regard to the need for commercial confidentiality. (Source: SCENIHR pages  )

Species

A group of organisms that differ from all other groups of organisms and that are capable of breeding and producing fertile offspring. This is the smallest unit of classification for plants and animals. (Source: OceanLink Glossary of Common Terms and Definitions in Marine Biology  )

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Surface water

Water on the surface of the Earth, such as in lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and springs. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms   )

The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection

The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) is an advisory body, established in 1969, that advises the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection.

At present GESAMP is jointly sponsored by nine UN organizations with responsibilities relating to the marine environment, and they utilize GESAMP as a mechanism for coordination and collaboration among them. GESAMP functions are to conduct and support marine environmental assessments, to undertake in-depth studies, analyses, and reviews of specific topics, and to identify emerging issues regarding the state of the marine environment. GESAMP itself today consists of 16 experts, drawn from a wide range of relevant disciplines, who act in an independent and individual capacity. Studies and assessments are usually carried out by dedicated working groups, most of whose members are not sitting members of GESAMP but part of the broader GESAMP network.

GESAMP's UN sponsors: IMO, FAO, UNESCO-IOC, WMO, IAEA, UN, UNEP, UNIDO, UNDP.GESAMP

Source: (Source: www.gesamp.org/about  )

Toxic

Able to poison or harm an organism. Toxic substances can cause adverse health effects. (Source: GreenFacts)

Toxicity

The capacity or property of a substance to cause adverse effects. (Source: GreenFacts)

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