Again, a product that has been used for thousands of years as an antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic. The ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and others also were recorded to have used silver in one form or another to preserve food and water, and this was practiced and recorded from B.C.E. through World War II. The application of silver plates to achieve better wound healing was used by the Macedonians, perhaps the first attempt to treat and prevent surgical infection. Hippocrates used silver preparations for the treatment of ulcers and to promote wound healing.(1)
Prior to patentable and more profitable antibiotics, medicines containing silver were the most widely prescribed infection fighters by mainstream allopathic physicians and there were no fewer than 34 different approved prescription and over the counter medications which contained silver. Now, after the elimination of most large particle and silver nitrate products and after improved technology has made nano-sized particles that require far less parts per million, colloidal silver proponents claim that it is safer and more effective than ever. At the same time, however, it has become the subject of increasing attacks by mainstream medicine, which labels colloidal silver as a scam, as quackery and as a dangerous substance with no proven value.
One of the most widely publicized warnings is that colloidal silver causes people to turn blue due to a skin condition known as argyria. Argyria is a discolouration of the skin, generally characterized by a bluing of the skin’s pigment. This rare, biologically benign condition proves the old adage that quality is much more important than quantity. Argyria occurs in response to the overconsumption or impure colloidal silver particles. With any substance, too much is not a good thing.. Tylenol, vitamin C, water... all can bring harm when over doing it.
Taking colloidal silver as directed has extremely low risk to it unlike conventional antibiotics. Bacteria and viruses are also less likely to become resistant to it if used properly and can used in instances where an antibiotic resistant bacterium is present. (5)
There is a dark side of silver to see in the shadow of the light. Nanotechnologies have advanced silver into smaller and smaller particles which allow it to be better absorbed into tissues of the body and lower amounts may be spread throughout the body as an antibiotic/antiseptic agent. Industry have developed nanotechnologies as a widespread application that moves out of the small batches used sparingly by people fighting acute bacterial infection, and into the broad multinational introduction of antimicrobial products. Food containers, hospital applications, cloth, laundry soaps, counter tops, cutting boards, socks, bedsheets, and a huge part of consumers textiles are now introduced with antimicrobial silver particles..
My concern is not with the amounts that people personally use as an antiseptic/antibiotic, it is the tons of nano particles used in everyday items that gives rise for concern. Bacteria is more likely to adapt and become resistant if it has the opportunity to adapt and mutate. From research done from Ian Chopra, writing for the Oxford Journals, the clinical incidence of silver resistance remains low, and emergence of resistance can be minimized if the level of silver ions released from products is high and the bactericidal activity rapid. (6)
With the evolution of technologies and industry we have created a much greater potential threat to health and environment. Baby blankets, stroller trays, towels... things that all end up at one point in baby's mouth! Not something I find re-assuring, as our most at risk demographic with a developing immune system, are in direct susceptibility of overconsuption of these nanoparticles because we are placing them in everything that is a potential teething ring!
The environmental effect may have not been accounted for as microbes and silver have coexisted for billions of years with no know resistance to silvers antimicrobial effects. Then again, we have never had nanotechnologies and it's effect on the silver particle in conjunction with it's widespread use of everyday products. (7)This may in fact give rise to silver resistant bacterium.
One of the most important aspects of health is balance, ours and the environment. If we are to keep silver as a health application we can not apply it to the regular industrial and consumer products but keep it as it should be... in reserve to use in acute situations and not as in broad spectrum use. Much the way mainstream antibiotics have come and gone, over use and over consumption can degrade the effectiveness of silver, as a whole.
- Hill WR, Pillsbury DM. Argyria–The Pharmacology of Silver. Baltimore. Williams & Wilkins, 1939
- Disinfection ofSpacecraft Potable Water Systems by Passivation with Ionic Silver
Michele N. Birmele' Engineering Services Contract. Team QNA, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. 32899
- Submitted to Jubilee House Community December 21, 2001
Daniele S. Lantagne ,Alethia Environmental
Investigation of the Potters for Peace Colloidal Silver Impregnated Ceramic Filter
- October 23, 2006 by: Jessica Fraser, Natural News, Colloidal silver antibacterial liquid sprayed on Hong Kong subways as public health measure
- March 28 2012, M.K. Rai, S.D. Deshmukh, A.P. Ingle and A.K. Gade
Journal of Applied Microbiology;
Silver nanoparticles: the powerful nanoweapon against multidrug-resistant bacteria
- Ian Chopra, Oxford Journals, The increasing use of silver-based products as antimicrobials: a useful development or a cause for concern?
- July 2013, Nate Seltenrich, Environment Health Prospectives; Nanosilver: Weighing the Risks and Benefits http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/121-a220/