Silver Concentrations in Nature and Daily Consumption
Silver In Nature
Silver is an element that occurs naturally in our environment that can be found in both soil and natural bodies of water.
The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) provides information about naturally occurring silver concentrations. They report that “less than 0.000001 mg silver per cubic meter of air (mg/m3), 0.2-2.0 parts silver per billion parts water (ppb) in surface waters, such as lakes and rivers, and 0.20-0.30 parts silver per million parts soil (ppm) in soils” are normal levels found in naturally occurring sources.
The ATSDR also reports that silver compounds are sometimes found in groundwater and hazardous wastes sites in the United States, and that drinking water supplies in the U.S. have been found to contain silver levels up to 80 ppb. In fact, the agency’s surveys report that 10%-33% of sampled drinking water supplies – both ground and surface water – contain silver at levels greater than 30 ppb. Much of this silver may be within silver salts (potentially poisonous complex molecules containing several elements; not pure silver.)
For the full source document for these findings, please visit the ATSDR website here.
The levels of silver in drinking water (and other naturally occurring sources) will vary by location, but this information provides valuable insight and understanding for the concentration of natural silver in our everyday environment.
Should I Worry About Silver In My Drinking Water?
If silver is an element that occurs naturally on our planet, is it found naturally in our drinking water? If so, what levels of silver in water are safe to drink?
According to the CDC’s ATSDR, “Silver is used to make jewelry, silverware, electronic equipment, and dental fillings. It is also used to make photographs, in brazing alloys and solders, to disinfect drinking water and water in swimming pools, and as an antibacterial agent.” (source)
As you can see, this natural element has many uses, but what about safe levels occurring naturally in the environment? The CDC explains that silver in the environment, whether naturally occurring or introduced by people, “does not appear to concentrate to a significant extent in aquatic animals.”
The CDC document (available in full here) also contains information presented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifically addressing silver concentration in drinking water. The EPA recommends that silver concentration in drinking water “not exceed 0.10 milligrams per liter of water.” Exceeding this amount can potentially lead to skin discoloration.
The EPA’s recommendation of 0.10 milligrams per liter, which translates to 0.1 parts per million (ppm), is for drinking water – consumed on a regular basis and in high volume. Alternatively, Thank You Silver is consumed only teaspoons at a time.
Silver Reference Dose According To The EPA
A service of the EPA called the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) provides safety information for silver, among many other substances.
One part of the substance assessment is known as the oral Reference Dose (RfD), which is “an estimate (with uncertainty spanning perhaps an order of magnitude) of a daily exposure to human population (including sensitive subgroups) that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime.” (emphasis added later)
The RfD information is expressed in milligrams of the substance per kilograms of body weight per day. According to IRIS, it is “based on the assumption that thresholds exist for certain toxic effects.”
The RfD is an educated and conservative estimate of how much of a substance a person can consume on a daily basis over the course of a lifetime without crossing an estimated threshold of risk.
The RfD for silver is 0.005 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, sometimes expressed as “5E-3 mg/kg-day.” This allows us to create a guideline for maximum silver use based directly on body weight over a lifetime of daily consumption.
For silver solution at 10 ppm, here is an RfD chart organized by body weight in pounds:
As you can see, body weight plays a critical factor in understanding safe levels of silver ingestion. Please note that this chart is not designed to indicate specific dosage, nor is it a recommendation of any kind. The chart is designed to show an extrapolation of EPA IRIS RfD information, applied specifically to 10 ppm silver.
Please also note that not all silvers behave the same way within the body. Old style colloidal and ionic silvers, along with impure silver compounds (silver salts, silver proteins, etc.) have different properties than structured silver including a different charge and different pH. This impacts the process of silver excretion (it is estimated that over 99% of structured silver leaves the body within 24 hours, whereas older or impure silvers can bind to fats and accumulate within the body.)
Silver is a part of nature and naturally occurs in our soils, air, and water.
It is likely that you have consumed much less silver per day thus far throughout your life than the suggested average daily maximums listed above.
With Thank You Silver, it is easy to access silver's benefits without crossing safety guidelines.