Silver ions and nanoparticles in the making

은이온 은나노 만들기: 은나노 세탁기를 둘러싼 나노의 정의와 위험 및 규제 관련 논쟁의 분석, 2006-2012

  • 유상운 (서울대학교 자연과학대학 과학사 및 과학철학 협동과정)
  • Received : 2013.10.12
  • Accepted : 2013.12.09
  • Published : 2013.12.31


Launched by Samsung in 2003, nano-silver washing machines were a representative application of nanotechnology in commercial products until the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) decided to regulate companies that produce nano-silver products in 2006. A year later, however, the EPA reclassified the washing machines not as an application of nanotechnology but as an ion-generating machine. As shown by the EPA's equivocation on this issue, establishing a category for nano-silver material should be considered in the procedure of risk assessment and regulation. This paper analyzes the controversy over Samsung's nano-silver washing machines more in detail to study how the demarcation between silver ion and nano-silver can vary according to the risk perception of nanotechnology. In Korea and the US, the boundary between silver ion and nano-silver was malleable and mobilzed depending on the contexts. Based on an analysis of the recent history of nano-silver washing machines, this paper explores the influence of risk perception over the ontological perspectives on a certain material.