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Steam disinfection enhances bioaccessibility of metallic nanoparticles in nano-enabled silicone-rubber baby bottle teats, pacifiers, and teethers


Rong Ji , Yu Su , Bin Wang , Xin Tong , Shuchuan Peng , Sijin Liu , Baoshan Xing

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2022.08.001

Received May 06, 2022,Revised , Accepted August 01, 2022, Available online August 08, 2022

Volume 36,2024,Pages 161-171

Nano-enabled silicone-rubber articles for feeding or chewing could be a source of metallic nanoparticles (NPs) directly exposed to infants and young children. However, the impact of steam disinfection on release of NPs and the related potential risks to children's health are unknown. Here, we investigated contents and form of Ag and Zn in 57 nano-enabled silicone-rubber baby bottle teats, pacifiers, and teethers of seven countries and examined the impacts of steam disinfection on in vitro bioaccessibility (IVBA) of Ag and Zn in the articles. Nearly 89% articles had a mixture of Ag- and Zn-containing NPs and the teethers had relatively high Ag and Zn contents (up to 501 and 254 µg/g, respectively). Steam disinfection caused rubber decomposition into micro(nano)plastics (0.54−15.7 µm) and NP release from the interior of bulk rubber and micro-sized plastics, thus enhancing the IVBA of Ag and Zn by up to 5.5 times. The findings provide insights into mechanisms for NP release by steam disinfection. Though oral exposure risk assessment suggested low health concerns on individual metal release, our study points out the need to assess the potential health risks of child co-exposure to metallic NPs and micro(nano)plastics.

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