the trusted journal, Environmental Science & Technology,
Hi, Steve Barwick here, for www.TheSilverEdge.com...
In light of recent attacks on colloidal silver, nanosilver and related products by radical anti-silver environmentalists, I thought you’d find the following press release from EMPA – the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technologies – quite interesting.
Here’s what they have to say about a new study on nanosilver, its safety, and its long history of usage, published in the well-known and trusted science journal, Environmental Science & Technology:
Nanosilver: New Name,
Long History of Safety and Effectiveness
Nanosilver is not a new discovery by nanotechnologists -- it has been used in various products for over a hundred years, as is shown by a new EMPA study.
The antimicrobial effects of minute silver particles, which were then known as "colloidal silver," were known from the earliest days of its use.
Numerous nanomaterials are currently at the focus of public attention. In particular silver nanoparticles are being investigated in detail, both by scientists as well as by the regulatory authorities.
The assumption behind all of this interest from researchers in nanosilver is that they are dealing with a completely new substance.
However, Empa researchers Bernd Nowack and Harald Krug, together with Murray Heights of the company HeiQ have shown in a paper recently published in the Journal Environmental Science & Technology that nanosilver is by no means a new discovery.
Nanosilver First Produced in 1899
Indeed, silver particles with diameters of seven to nine nm were mentioned as early as 1889.
They were used in medications or as biocides to prevent the growth of bacteria on surfaces, for example in antibacterial water filters or in algaecides for swimming pools.
The nanoparticles were known as "colloidal silver" in those days, but what was meant was the same then as now – extremely small particles of silver.
The only new aspect is the use today of the prefix "nano".
"However," according to Bernd Nowack, "nano does not mean something new, and nor does it mean something that is harmful."
On the Market Since the 1920’s
When "colloidal silver" became available on the market in large quantities in the 1920s it was the topic of numerous studies and subject to appropriate regulation by the authorities.
Even in those days the significance of the discovery of nanoparticles and how they worked was realized.
"That is not to say that the possible side-effects of nanoparticles on humans and the environment should be played down or ignored," adds Nowack.
On the contrary, it is important to characterize in exact detail the material properties of nanosilver and not just to believe unquestioningly the doubts and reservations surrounding the product.
What Is a “Nanoparticle”?
The term nanoparticle is understood to refer to particles whose dimensions are less than 100 nm.
Because of their minute size nanoparticles have different properties than those of larger particles of the same material.
For example, for a given volume nanoparticles have a much greater surface area, so they are frequently much more reactive than the bulk material.
In addition, even in small quantities nanosilver produces more silver ions than solid silver. These silver ions are toxic to bacteria.
Harmful to the Environment?
Whether or not nanosilver represents a risk to humans and the environment is currently the subject of a great deal of investigation.
Currently there are hundreds of products in circulation which contain silver nanoparticles. Examples include cosmetics, food packaging materials, disinfectants, cleaning agents and – not least – antibacterial socks and underwear.
Every year some 320 tonnes of nanosilver are used worldwide, some of which is released into wastewater, thus finding its way into natural water recirculation systems.
What effects silver particles have on rivers, soil and the organisms that live in them has not yet been clarified in detail.
But a commentary by Bernd Nowack in the scientific journal Science discusses the implications of the newest studies on nanosilver in sewage treatment plants.
According to Nowack, more than 90% of silver nanoparticles remains bound in the sewage sludge in the form of silver sulfide, a substance which is extremely insoluble and orders of magnitude less toxic than free silver ions.
It apparently does not matter what the original form of the silver in the wastewater was, whether as metallic nanoparticles, as silver ions in solution or as precipitated insoluble silver salts.
"As far as the environmental effects are concerned, it seems that nanosilver in consumer goods is no different than other forms of silver and represents only a minor problem for eco-systems," says Nowack.
– End –
The above press release from EMPA, and the related study from the journal Environmental Science & Technology offer truly good news.
Why? Because they represent some of the first good published scientific confirmation of what I’ve been saying all along, which is that…
…the environmentalist case against nanosilver in all of its forms, including colloidal silver, is based on little more than rank sensationalism and childish exaggeration.
The idea that a substance that’s been used safely and successfully for decades in public and private swimming pools, public fountains, cosmetics, medicines, wound care, disinfectant products, water filters, as a dietary supplement used by millions worldwide and even as an antimicrobial substance in manned space flights…
…but has now suddenly become “toxic” to the environment or harmful to human health…
…is just this side of ludicrous.
Indeed, the radical anti-silver environmentalists have painted themselves into a box on this one.
Their story is unraveling fast, particularly since new research has demonstrated that “mother earth” even makes her own silver nanoparticles naturally.
This makes a laughingstock of their claims of needing to “protect the environment” from potential harm from silver nanoparticles.
But don’t expect the radical anti-silver environmentalists to take this lying down.
Nosiree. I can guarantee you they’ll be back with even more unrealistic and overblown claims against nanosilver, colloidal silver and other forms of antimicrobial silver.
In the weeks and months ahead I’ll continue to report on this issue as more information becomes available. Until then, I remain…
Yours for the safe, sane and responsible use of colloidal silver,
Important Note and Disclaimer: The contents of this Ezine have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information conveyed herein is from sources deemed to be accurate and reliable, but no guarantee can be made in regards to the accuracy and reliability thereof. The author, Steve Barwick, is a natural health journalist with over 30 years of experience writing professionally about natural health topics. He is not a doctor. Therefore, nothing stated in this Ezine should be construed as prescriptive in nature, nor is any part of this Ezine meant to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Nothing reported herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The author is simply reporting in journalistic fashion what he has learned during the past 17 years of journalistic research into colloidal silver and its usage. Therefore, the information and data presented should be considered for informational purposes only, and approached with caution. Readers should verify for themselves, and to their own satisfaction, from other knowledgeable sources such as their doctor, the accuracy and reliability of all reports, ideas, conclusions, comments and opinions stated herein. All important health care decisions should be made under the guidance and direction of a legitimate, knowledgeable and experienced health care professional. Readers are solely responsible for their choices. The author and publisher disclaim responsibility or liability for any loss or hardship that may be incurred as a result of the use or application of any information included in this Ezine.