Is Colloidal Silver Good For You Or Safe For The Environment?
What even is Colloidal Silver?
According to a biochemist friend of mine, colloidal silver in easy terms are tiny particles of silver that are so small that they don’t sink in solutions like water, they stay floating. Due to its antibacterial properties, many holistic health experts tout the benefits of colloidal silver as a highly beneficial cure-all.
Colloidal silver is sometimes present in fabrics and bandages to keep them cleaner/ smell free for longer. It has a become a very common ingredient in alternative toothpaste and tooth polishes because of it's antibacterial attributes. The idea is that the product is keeping your mouth cleaner, but the balance of bacteria in your mouth is a sensitive balance. Adding colloidal silver to wipe out the bacteria could lead to being prone to infection, an infection in your mouth...sounds great right?
Have you ever wondered what all the hype is and if it is safe and effective? Although in theory, colloidal silver is highly antibacterial there is a very high risk that it isn't colloidal silver at all and potentially just silver dissolved in a solution which does not break down at all in the body. In the 1960’s newborns were administered eyedrops of colloidal silver to assist in preventing infection but it came with nasty side effects of burning the skin and sometimes causing severe eye damage. So does colloidal silver cause eye damage? It can.
There have also been cases where if too much colloidal silver is ingested the user could contract argyria, an irreversible condition that turns the user blue. One of the most extreme cases of argyria was Paul Karason who appeared on the Today Show in 2008 as the silver man.
1) Colloidal Silver Does Not Break Down In The Body
Of the many extensive studies on Silver, it has not been proven to have any known purpose in the body. Nor is it an essential mineral, as some sellers of silver products claim. It is basically like taking a bite out of one of your silver necklaces or bracelets. Due to the silver not breaking down it passes through your system and into the water system.
2) The FDA Doesn't Approve Of It
The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against a number of companies for making misleading claims about colloidal silver products. The FDA also issued a warning in 1999 that colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.
3) Consuming Colloidal Silver Can Cause Argyria
Silver can build up in the body’s tissue, causing a bluish-gray discoloration of large areas of skin, especially those exposed to the sun. People have developed argyria from using homemade and commercial colloidal silver products. Argyria is not life threating but it is irreversible, the build-up causes the coloring of the skin and in internal organs to turn blue.
4) Silver Nanoparticles Wind up In Our Waterways, Rivers, Streams, and Oceans.
Once silver goes down the drain it ends up in waterways, rivers, streams, and oceans are delicate ecosystems. When disrupted by chemical runoff there are always adverse effects. Many marine organisms depend on clean water to survive. The antibacterial properties of silver nanoparticles disrupt their balance. Silver nanoparticles do not sink in water they stay very close to the surface which is where many fish and other organisms lay their eggs. When these eggs and organisms come into contact with the silver particles it causes them to either develop incorrectly causing mutation or in higher concentrations terminates their development entirely.
5) Toxic To Marine Life When Exposed To Silver Nitrate
There have been many studies on the effects of minerals in water runoff and almost all results find that any mineral runoff that is foreign or man-made has a negative effect on the marine life in that area. Colloidal silver and other silver nanoparticles are no exception. In several studies where scientists have tested the effects of silver on fish, shellfish, and algae they have had adverse effects including death. Marine life breath through the water, when that water is contaminated with minerals that are unfamiliar it causes their cells to break down over time eventually causing them to die.
6) It Is Very Difficult To Remove Silver Particles From Water
There are very few ways to remove silver particles from water one of the only ways that have been effective at reversing the problem is through a water filtration system that changes the pH levels of water to encourage silver and other minerals to stick to. The downside to this is that changing the pH levels of water has it's own risks to the wildlife that inhabits it.
7) There Isn't Enough Information Out There
Colloidal silver has been around for a very long time, but there has never been sufficient evidence to prove its effectiveness as a medicated ingredient. Scientific papers on the effects of colloidal silver are few and far between. Some of the papers that do show positive effects of colloidal silver are badly written or sponsored by companies that produce colloidal silver. Colloidal silver is often put in alternative tooth polishes because of its antibacterial properties, but are the environmental and health risks worth it when there is an alternative?
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We hope this article enlightened you on the modern snake oil that is colloidal silver. If you do have some colloidal silver at home and don't want it anymore please don't wash it down the drain, dispose of it at a landfill where it will mix with other long-term trash and one day be eventually recovered.
Have an opinion on this? Leave a comment below and let other BamBrushers know how you think.