Colloidal Silver and “NanoSilver”: What’s the Difference?
In regards to the drive by several radical environmental groups to have the EPA regulate nanosilver as a “pesticide,” many readers have written to ask what’s the difference between colloidal silver and “nanosilver.”
The term "nano" simply refers to the size
of the particles.
In order to incorporate silver into a variety of products, such as computer keyboards, or diabetic stockings, for examples, the particle size of the silver has to be greatly reduced, all of the way down to the “nano” level. (A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, which is about 1/100,000th the width of a human hair.)
Similarly, because of its superior effectiveness against pathogens, nano-scale silver is now widely used in colloidal silver products.
So when the radical environmentalists say they want to regulate "nanosilver," they are talking about ALL products that contain silver nano-particles, including colloidal silver
That's why, in the addendum to their petition to the EPA, in which the environmentalists list 300 different products containing "nano" scale silver particles, they include the names of the top three brands of colloidal silver on the market today (i.e., Sovereign Silver, Meso-Silver and ASAP Silver), along with many lesser-known brands.
They also include numerous products such as soaps and toothpastes that have incorporated colloidal silver nano-particles into their make-up.
In other words, they want the EPA to regulate anything
with tiny silver particles in it, again, including colloidal silver
.Why the Environmentalists Are So Fearful of Silver Nano-Particles
The stated reasoning of the environmentalists for regulating tiny silver particles is that over time, as more and more product manufacturers incorporate silver nano-particles into their products for the powerful anti-microbial qualities, these tiny silver particles could eventually make their way back into the environment.
Once in the environment, so the reasoning goes, these tiny nano-scale silver particles could potentially cause an ecological catastrophe, because their nano-scale properties make them extremely toxic to microbes and other tiny living creatures such as tadpoles and minnows.
According the environmentalists, these tiny silver particles might ultimately buildup to high enough levels in the environment to wipe out environmentally sensitive microorganisms or other living creatures that are essential to the ecology.
The environmentalists have NO evidence whatsoever for this contention, of course. In other words, there is at present literally ZERO evidence that silver nano-particles are causing any environment damage whatsoever.
In other words, it is pure conjecture on the part of the environmentalists. And that conjecture is essentially based upon a few paid university laboratory studies that were purposely skewed from the beginning to reach the pre-ordained conclusion that nano-silver can harm the environment because of its uniquely toxic properties to small living creatures.Wild Conjectures from the Zebra Fish Study
What the environmentalists did is this: They began with the premise that articles of clothing that have silver nano-particles embedded in the fabric could release those silver nano-particles into the environment when washed in a washing machine. And those released silver nano-particles might in turn begin to harm "environmentally sensitive" microbes or other tiny creatures.
Since nano-scale silver particles are now frequently incorporated into the fabric of, for example, diabetic stockings, in order to help stop diabetic foot ulcers from becoming infected, this was an interesting conjecture.
The environmentalists then paid a few college students and their professors to do a study in which they took a pair of diabetic stockings with silver nano-particles incorporated into the fabric, and rinsed those stockings in pure water to show that each time the stockings are rinsed, a small number of silver nanoparticles leach out of the stocking fabric. Then they took the silver nanoparticles that were rinsed from the stockings and injected them into small aquariums filled with zebra fish.
And as they added more and more of the rinsed silver particles into the habitat, the little zebra fish absorbed the silver particles and became sick. The researchers then concluded from the study that silver particles released into the environment are potentially harmful to the fauna that make up the environmental ecology.
In other words, they added pure silver nano-particles into a small controlled environment containing zebra fish, until there was enough silver in it to overdose the zebra fish.
Any third grader could do the same experiment. But any third grader could also see that adding far smaller amounts of silver nano-particles into the zebra fish habitat would have caused no harm whatsoever.
The bottom line is that small amounts of silver nano-particles would actually help sustain the life of the zebra fish, because it would help prevent fungal infections, for example, that are common to the fish and frequently wipe out entire populations of the fish. But significantly larger amounts of silver nano-particles can cause harm to the zebra fish themselves, due to toxic overdose.
In other words, it is all in the dosage
. Just like with humans, i.e., if you take an aspirin, you can get rid of a headache. But if you take twenty or thirty aspirins, you get bleeding stomach ulcers.
So the researchers "proved" nothing. They simply demonstrated that overdosing zebra fish with pure silver nano-particles injected directly into a controlled environment will harm the zebra fish.What Happens to Silver Nano-Particles in the Environment?
The problem with the study is this: Those poor little zebra fish were overdosed with pure
silver nano-particles. But as a whole, you never find pure silver nano-particles in nature. At least, not in the same context that the environmentalists are speaking of.
That’s because, once released into the environment, silver nano-particles simply cannot maintain their "nano" scale attributes. Instead, silver nano-particles tend to agglomerate with natural salts, minerals and other substances in the environment almost immediately, and form larger particle agglomerates that completely negate the silver’s nano-scale properties – the very properties the environmentalists claim to be so worried about.
In other words, silver nano-particles released into the environment essentially become bound silver (i.e., bound to salts, minerals and other substances) rather than free silver, and are at that point basically inert in comparison to their previous nano-scale attributes.
In their experiments, the environmentalists did not account for this. They simply added pure silver nanoparticles into the zebra fish habitat, until the build-up caused toxicity.
If they had first taken those pure silver nanoparticles and placed them into a natural environment like a stream bed or a tide pool, or even a sewage system, where the tiny silver particles would have agglomerated with other substances and would thereby have completely lost their nanoscale properties, the results of the experiments the environmentalists are touting would have been quite different.
In short, there would have been no harm to the little zebra fish whatsoever, because the silver would have been bonded to other substances.Tons of Silver in the Lakes, Streams and Oceans, Yet They Team With Life
This is why, for example, fresh water streams containing millions or even billions of miniscule grains of silver from silver mining run-off, or even from natural silver deposits in the stream beds, are still literally teaming with life. One of my favorite fishing streams still has numerous old silver mining “tailings” being worked by local freelance miners, running directly into it. Yet in spite of the relatively high silver content of the water, life abounds there!
Likewise, you also have to ask yourself why the world’s oceans are literally teaming with life, from billons of microscopic creatures including bacteria, viruses and single-celled protozoa all the way up the food chain to shrimp, sardines, larger fish, and mammals such as porpoises and whales, in spite of the fact that there are an estimated more than two million tons of trace mineral silver in the oceans
Again, this is “trace” mineral silver, meaning very tiny particles of mineral silver, not large nuggets of silver. But this vast amount of trace mineral silver in the oceans of the world causes no harm whatsoever to the life teaming in those oceans. Indeed, it is part of the natural mineral support
system of the ocean.
And why is there no harm from this phenomenal amount of silver in the world’s oceans? Because the vast majority of the silver particles agglomerate, or bond, with salts, minerals and other substances, forming relatively larger particulates that are simply not harmful or toxic.
Even elevated ocean surface water concentrations of very small silver particles that enter the oceans from aerosol industrial pollution (chiefly from Asia, where coal-burning pollution laws are lax) end up safely returning to the environment by binding with other minerals.
As a recent study
from the University of California at Santa Cruz points out, “Atmospheric inputs of natural and/or industrial aerosols appear to elevate silver concentrations in remote surface waters in the South Atlantic, where silver is effectively scavenged onto and/or bioaccumulated by plankton. The subsequent remobilization of silver with depth is relatively coincident with that of silicate, suggesting much of that silver is sequestered within a refractory organic phase associated with biogenic silica. That silver is then remineralized, and appears to be conservatively transported in subsurface water masses throughout the World Ocean
.” [Emphasis mine.]
In other words, the tiny particles of silver carried by aerosol pollution from coal-burning plants in Asia are carried by the winds, ultimately reaching ocean surface waters in the South Atlantic. Then those tiny, microscopic silver particles are “scavenged” or “bioaccumulated” by plankton.
As the plankton die off naturally over the course of time, the silver then bonds with biological silica, a mineral by-product of the plankton and other ocean vegetation. At that point the silver is, in essence, “remineralized.”
Due to the heavier weight caused by the bonding of the silver particles with silica, it is then transported into deeper waters (i.e., “subsurface water masses”) following basically the same pattern of all other ocean minerals.
Indeed, the study’s authors could find no major difference between the distribution of silver in the ocean and other minerals and metals natural to the ocean waters. The authors even quote from another study documenting that silver distribution in the water column (i.e., the ocean top to ocean bottom) is basically having no negative effects:
“The influence of microbial activity on the release of silver within the water column is reportedly negligible,” meaning that even persistent microbial activity on the plankton that has scavenged the silver and bonded it to silicate does not result in the release of significant amounts of free silver into the ocean. The silver remains tied-up, or bonded to the silicate, and is thus basically inert, rather than toxic.The Sky is Falling, The Sky Is Falling!
The bottom line is that the environmentalists are like the little kid in the children’s story who ran screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling,” when in reality everything was fine. But environmentalists nevertheless believe their warning cry is fully justified, because, after all, one day the sky might
In other words, rather than presenting realistic evidence of an actual problem
, the environmentalists instead “foresee” the day when nano-silver “might” become so prevalently used in society that it “could” begin to cause some kind of as-yet-undefined environmental “catastrophe.” And they conclude therefore that nano-silver must be heavily regulated now, in order to help prevent a potential future environmental disaster.
Their “foresight” is all so much drama, very much like a Jerry Springer sideshow. But it is based upon sheer ignorance of what happens to small particles of silver when they are returned to the environment and bond with minerals and other substances.
The enviro-nuts even go so far as to use older and completely irrelevant studies to justify their position. For example, one study they tout found that clams quit breeding when literally tons of toxic silver chemicals (such as silver nitrate) were dumped into San Francisco bay.
Of course, this was the result of environmental malfeasance by the film processing industry, which used tons of silver in film manufacturing and processing. It can hardly be related to colloidal silver usage, or to the incorporation of silver nanoparticles into, for example, diabetic stockings.
The film processing industry itself is now barely a distant memory, thanks largely to the advent of digital cameras. So the possibility of another San Francisco bay incident is basically slim to none, and Slim just left town. In other words, the issue is moot, except to the whacko environmentalists who keep dredging up this old history in order to justify their present neuroses against silver.
Of course, this kind of historical back-reasoning is typical of the environmentalists. After all, they likewise claim we should all quit driving our cars and start riding to work on bicycles because an allegedly drunk ship captain caused an oil spill in Alaska 30 years ago that killed some ducks and fish. Yes, it might happen again. But is preventing it really worth the inconvenience of not having cars?Re-Defining “Nano”
These rabid environmentalists have even gone so far as to re-define “nano” as meaning anything from one nanometer up to 100 nanometers in size
. That’s like re-defining “gallons” to mean anything from one to 100 gallons.
Of course, by vastly broadening the generally accepted meaning of “nano” from one nanometer to “anything up to 100 nanometers,” they have conveniently brought just about every brand of colloidal silver in existence under the “nano” umbrella, as most of the silver particles in modern brands of colloidal silver are well under 100 nm
In my early January 2009 email correspondence with the attorney for the environmental groups who are suing EPA to regulate silver as a “pesticide,” I asked why his clients listed various brands of colloidal silver in the addendum to their EPA petition. He replied that if a colloidal silver product meets their definition of “nano” -- whether it is advertised as “nanosilver” or not -- it still needs to be regulated as a pesticide.
That’s their mindset. First they re-define it so as to put the maximum number of products possible into their regulatory gun sights. Then they regulate it.Targeting Colloidal Silver
So as you can see, these rabid environmentalists are indeed directly targeting colloidal silver, in spite of the fact that the likelihood of colloidal silver usage ever causing any harm to the environment is just about nil.
Even if every person in the United States were to start using colloidal silver tomorrow, its impact on the environment would be negligible due to the fact that when silver is released into the environment in even moderate amounts it bonds with other minerals and becomes basically inert. You’d have to make a silver spill of gigantic proportions (i.e., tons), over a long period of time, as happened in San Francisco bay years ago when the film processing industry dumped excess amounts of silver into the bay.
The environmentalist groups are, in my opinion, just using the “nanosilver” issue to justify the regulation of colloidal silver
, which will in effect put the vast majority of colloidal silver manufacturers and distributors out of business due to their inability to comply with costly environmental regulations.
It will also drive the costs of making and distributing colloidal silver through the roof for those few companies that might be able to afford to comply with the new pesticide regulations.
Today colloidal silver is relatively affordable to the average consumer. But as always, the excess costs of regulation will be borne solely by consumers.
In essence, at the very least, if these new regulations are embraced and enforced by the EPA, the manufacturing and distribution of colloidal silver products is going to become tightly controlled by a small handful of corporations that can afford to jump through the regulatory hoops.
This means the price of colloidal silver is going to go through the roof, and your choice of colloidal silver distributors, brands, varieties, etc., will, unlike today where you can choose from 100 or even 500 relatively inexpensive different brands, be reduced to two or three very expensive brands, at most.
So this battle is not just about health freedom, but consumer freedom of choice
, too.Big Pharma
My question from Monday’s blog post remains unanswered: Who is funding the environmentalists to pursue this avenue of silver regulation? Who stands to benefit the most from restricting silver’s availability?
My best guess would be Big Pharma.
Big Phama failed to get colloidal silver regulated by the FDA back in 1999, succeeding only in having the FDA ban the mention of silver’s powerful antibiotic qualities from product advertising and labeling.
Of course, that backfired on them. The FDA’s 1999 “Final Ruling” on colloidal silver only served to incense the public about bureaucratic meddling in their health care choices. As a direct result of the anger generated by the FDA’s “Final Ruling,” more people today know about and regularly use colloidal silver than ever
So now they are trying to restrict colloidal silver by using paid shills within the environmental movement to promote the spurious idea that “nanosilver is harmful to the environment.”
Will it work? The choice is up to health-conscious people like you.
S. Spencer JonesP.S.
The ultimate solution to the problem is to buy a high-quality home colloidal silver generator. By owning the means of colloidal silver production, you can make all of the safe, natural, high-quality colloidal silver you want, any time you want, in the comfort and privacy of your own home. It is as easy as brewing a pot of coffee. And there is nothing the environmentalists or bureaucrats can do about it, as long as you own a colloidal silver generator before they act to have those banned too
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(Or phone: 1-888-846-9029)P.P.S. What to Do Right Now --
We were among the first to uncover this plot by a consortium of rabid environmental groups to force the EPA to start regulating silver as a “pesticide,” most likely at the behest of the global pharmaceutical companies.
What’s more, we sounded the alarm, emailing hundreds of colloidal silver manufacturers and distributors and dozens of health freedom groups to let them know about this egregious attempt to destroy the colloidal silver market.
We have spent countless hours writing about this subject, and have published numerous articles across the internet in an effort to alert the public.