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Study Disputes ‘Silver Nano’ Technology

Posted November. 18, 2005 08:26,   


Front-loading washing machine commercials these days are flaunting their sterilizing functions with phrases like “silver nano technology”; “silver ions,” and “steaming options.”

Silver nano-enabled machines generate silver ions that allegedly kill off bacteria and fungi. However, it turns out these sophisticated technologies are not necessary to kill germs. Ordinary washing machines can remove 99.9% of them, according to an experiment conducted by the Korea Consumer Protection Board (KCPB) and the Agency for Technology and Standards of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy.

On November 17, the KCPB released the results of its experiment comparing three Korean-brand washing machines that use silver nano technology and steaming functions, and one imported machine without them.

The three domestic front-loading washing machines were from Samsung, LG, and Daewoo Electronics, respectively, and have 10kgs of washing capacity and 6kg of drying capacity. The imported machine was a washing-only machine by Bauknecht of Germany with a 10kg capacity.

All the machines removed over 99.9% of aeruginosa and staphylococcus aureus, and more than 99.8% of mold from laundry when washing the laundry with water and no detergent, the KCPB said.

The imported machine without silver nano technology and the Samsung product with the silver nano function turned off also removed over 99.9% of all germs.

Germs are removed when dirt or filth are cleaned from the laundry while it undergoes one washing, two to three rinsing and two to three spin drying processes, the KCPB explained.

Jin-Suk Huh jameshuh@donga.com