Environmental impacts of reusable nanoscale silver-coated hospital gowns compared to single-use, disposable gowns†
Nanoscale silver has been incorporated into a variety of products where its antimicrobial properties enhance their functionality. One particular application is hospital linens, potential vectors of disease transmission. There is an on-going debate as to whether it is more beneficial to use disposable versus reusable hospital gowns in efforts to prevent nosocomial infections. This work models the life cycle impacts of nanoscale silver (nAg)-enabled, reusable hospital gowns from a life cycle assessment perspective and then compares the midpoint environmental impact data to the use of disposable hospital gowns. A key finding of this work is the environmental parity (when the environmental impact of nAg and disposable gowns are equal) of a nAg-enabled gown is 12 wearings. These results suggest that nAg textiles may be key in reducing the environmental impact of hospitals, while still preventing infection.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization 2015