Silver have been used for centuries to sanitize water. Copper is a well known algicide and silver is a powerful bactericide. In the ancient Greek civilization, the royalty used to drink from silver goblets and their water was stored in silver urns in order to purify their drinking water. As the pioneer settlers moved west across the American continent, they insured safe drinking water by putting silver coins in their barrels of water and milk.
In the 1960's, NASA developed an electrolytic silver ionizer to purify the astronauts drinking water for use on the Apollo missions. Today silver is used in medications for treatment of burn patients to prevent infections, for newborns to prevent blindness, to make bacteria free cosmetics, in drinking water filters, and for filling cavities in teeth to help prevent further decay.
Lesser known facts about Silver
One of the most fascinating properties of silver is its bactericidal quality. Small concentrations of silver or silver salts kill bacteria by chemically affecting the cell membranes, causing them to break down. Bacteria do not develop resistance to silver, as they do to many antibiotics. Because of its bactericidal properties, silver nitrate drops are used to clean the eyes of newborns in much of the world. Silver rich creams are common household ointments for burns. Cotton gauze soaked in silver solution is proving a miracle cure for intensive care burn victims. While silver keeps bacteria at bay, it also cauterizes minor capillaries, preventing blood loss, and the build-up of excessive scar tissue. Silver gauze is used to pack wounds of patients during transport to medical facilities. It is relatively inert in the human body, so it is commonly used to pin fractured bones, and sew large wounds. Silver-based water purification systems, both portable and industrial, are gaining widespread popularity.
Water Purification using Silver
Silver is employed as a bactericide in an ever increasing number of water purification systems in hospitals, remote communities and, more recently, domestic households.
Silver ions have been used to purify drinking water and swimming pool water for generations. New research into silver compounds is providing physicians with powerful, clinically effective treatments against which bacteria cannot develop resistance.
An increasing trend is the millions of on-the-counter and under-the-counter water purifiers that are sold each year in the United States to rid drinking water of bacteria, chlorine, trihalomethanes, lead, particulates, and odor. Here silver is used to prevent the buildup of bacteria and algae in the filters. Of the billions of dollars spent yearly in the U.S. for drinking water purification systems, over half make advantageous use of the bactericidal properties of silver. New research has shown that the catalytic action of silver, in concert with oxygen, provides a powerful sanitizer, virtually eliminating the need for the use of corrosive chlorine.
Portable Water Filters Keep Hikers on the Trail: Silver Keeps Pocket Pumps Bacteria Free
Even when you're backpacking in the wilderness, clean, drinkable water is hard to find. Campers have traditionally boiled water or treated it with iodine tablets. Boiling water is not always practical and iodine has its own shortcomings. Not only can iodine take twenty minutes or longer to kill dangerous microorganisms but some people are allergic to it.
Enter a new crop of pocket-sized water pumps that turn stream water into potable water on the fly, and they rely on silver to keep their filters safe and pure.
Many of these silver-impregnated ceramic filters - sometimes containing beneficial chemicals to kill viruses, too - have pores so small that bacteria such as cholera, typhoid, and E. coli can't pass through them. Silver's natural anti-bacterial action keeps bacteria from building up on the filters which can remain wet for months at a time. This built-in, anti-bacterial feature also allows the filters to be cleaned with fresh water once the trip is over and reused many more times.
Silver News - June/July 1997
Silver Brings Health and Wealth in Mexico
By Samuel Etris, Senior Technical Consultant to The Silver Institute
Mexico has maintained its leadership position in worldwide production of silver for generations. In the year past, Mexico entered some 88 million ounces of silver into the market, valued at over $380 million, a significant addition to the Mexican economy. History reveals that nearly one third of 0 the world's silver has been mined in the Mexican Cordillera.
However, silver's contribution to Mexico's citizens extends far beyond the economic; it contributes to their health as well. Since ancient times Mexicans have used silver vessels to keep water fresh and milk sweet. Since 1955, with the approval of the Ministry of Health of Mexico, Microdyn, a silver colloid, with a particle size of about 2 manometers, has been used to provide healthful water for its citizens.
"A few drops of Microdyn available in small bottles provides sufficient silver to disinfect clear drinking water in about 10 minutes," states Luis Arizcorreta Buchholz, president of Roland de Mexico, S.A, de C.V, Mexico D.E, Mexico. "It is a convenient disinfectant for individual use in areas wherever tap water is suspect. Microdyn has also found wide popularity in Mexico as a rinse to disinfect fruit and vegetables. It is also active against spores and parasites."
Microdyn is also made available in a soluble carrier which is painted on the interior of cisterns for the long-term disinfection of drinking water. Its use is credited with a dramatic improvement in the health of the residents of the town of Cruz Azul, Lagunas, Oaxaca, Mexico, who for years had suffered rampant gastroenteritis. The introduction of a Microdyn coating to the town's water supply cisterns in 1977 made the difference. Other local water supply systems treated with Microdyn achieved similar results.
A study by Microbiological Research & Development Inc. of Tucson, Arizona, proved the relative power of Microdyn against that of chlorine. At the 0.025 milligram per liter (mg/liter) level of Microdyn silver (the United States Environmental Protection Agency suggested limit for silver in drinking water is 0. 100 mg/liter], water charged with 2, 700 units per liter of the fecal conform Echerichia coli (E.Coli) bacterium was completely sterilized in less than three hours, whereas the chlorine to sterilize the same charge of bacterium over the same period of time required 40 times greater concentration. In another test, water charged with 100 times that amount of fecal coliform required 8 times the normal concentration of Microdyn for complete sterilization, whereas 10 times the concentration of chlorine was required. In every case, the disinfectant power of Microdyn was greater than that of chlorine.
Silver's antibacterial power is so strong that Microdyn contains only 3,575 parts per billion of silver per liter, or less than 2 milligrams silver per liter-sized bottle.
In a related story, NVID International, Inc. of Clearwater, Florida, announced the successful completion of testing of a municipal drinking water system utilizing ionic silver, in the city of Celaya, Mexico. The test was designed to test a three-block section of the distribution-piping grid for this city of 350,000 residents. The test commenced on March 8 under the auspices of the City of Celaya, and the state branches of Commission National de Aug (CNA) and Salute de Ambiental (Mexican EPA).
The Company's Ionic Disinfection System was installed on one of the 65 wells serving the city's residents and the system injected 10 parts per billion of ionic silver into the distribution grid. Within 24 hours of installing the system, the fecal conform count was brought to zero and it remained at zero for the next eighteen days. The system was then taken off-line and the fecal conforms returned within two days. The system was reconnected to the distribution grid and again obtained zero fecal coliform within 24 hours and kept the count at zero for the next 45 consecutive days.
NVID's President, David Larson stated, "This test was very significant due to the low levels of ionic silver used in the disinfection. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended the allowable levels of silver present in drinking water be set at 100 ppb, and most of the Company's systems are designed to inject ionic silver well below the limit, at a rate of 60 ppb. Proving efficacy at 10 ppb is significant in that cost comparisons with traditional disinfectants such as Chlorine become more favorable and the initial capital outlay for end users is greatly reduced."
The use of silver as a biocide in water treatment is growing. In 2000, about 5.3 million ounces were used for water treatment with estimates of 6.16 million for 2002, 7.1 million for 2004 and 8.1 million in 2006, according to Jeffrey Ellis, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Florida International University in Miami, a consultant to the chemical and plastics industry.
Silver News - August / September 2001
Water Purification using Copper
Here's an excerpt from http://www.intec-america.com/resources relating to how copper ionization is a powerful fungicide, algicide and bactericidal agent.
This is what makes Silverhealthy unique. It uses the best of silver and copper to deliver results.
The biocidal effect of copper ions stems from a combination of mechanisms.
These positively charged metallic ions attach to the negatively charged algae or bacteria cell membrane
and causes cell lysis and death. Metal ions will bind to the sulfhydryl, amino and carboxyl groups of amino acids,
thereby denaturing the proteins they compose. This renders enzymes and other proteins ineffective,
compromising the biochemical processes they control. Cell surface proteins necessary for transport of
materials across cell membranes also are inactivated as they are denatured.
When copper binds with the phosphate groups that are part of the structural backbone of DNA molecules,
the result is the unraveling of the double helix and consequent destruction of the molecule.
Copper ions are stable, making it easier to maintain an effective residual.
Furthermore, the ions will remain active until they are absorbed by a microorganism.
Health Benefits of Copper
The health benefits of copper are well documented.
The trace mineral copper helps prevent anemia, bone and skeletal defects,
a degeneration of the nervous system, defects in the color and structure of hair,
reproductive problems, and abnormal cardiovascular problems.
Also, copper is as important as calcium and zinc for bone formation, red blood cell integrity,
skin and immune functions, nervous system functions, propagation of oxygen throughout the bloodstream,
and the conversion of beta carotene into vitamin A.