This is a topic that most werewolves would hate to know and talk about. We are going to talk about silver, and we are going to talk about so much amount of it. However, we are not going to talk about how to use it to kill werewolves.
Instead of talking about mythical creature, we are going to talk about the environment today. But what’s the connection between environment and silver? Study found that small particles of silver are actually spread around in our environment.
The small particles of silver, called nanosilver, is everywhere. It can be found in water, sediment, soil, even groundwater. Not only that, it can be found in fish, insects, mammals, even small organisms also. How can silver end up there?
Here in this article, we are going to talk about nanosilver and how it can impact the environment.
Isn’t Silver Good?
Most of us know that silver is a noble metal that is often used as jewelry all around the world. Its shiny beauty is said to be comparable with gold. But don’t you know that beyond its beauty, it also has positive effects?
Silver has been used for its positive effects since a long time ago. Royals created a tradition to eat using silver kitchen utensils since it can prevent them get poisoned. This is the reason why eating utensils is called as silverware nowadays.
The science behind this is because silver can kill germs with this antibacterial feature. This is also the reason why in medical world, silver plays important part to save many people’s lives. From silver-coated bandage to breathing tubes, silver is applied to reduced the likelihood of infection.
So far, silver is good for us, isn’t it? it can kill germs naturally so that we can live healthier by applying it in our everyday lives. In fact, small amount of silver can be found in everyday stuffs such as toothbrush, washing machine, and socks.
Application of silver will also give us a good defense against bacteria that cause smelly breath and also unpleasant smell on your feet. Anything seems better when promoted with silver, because it will naturally kill bacteria.
Talking About Nano-Sized Silver
Isn’t it good having things with better hygiene thanks to application of silver? Well, looking on things mentioned above, it is good. However, on the other hands, it can also cause something particularly bad to the environment.
The application of silver in many things, including everyday stuffs, lead into something unexpected. Because the application is so thin, silver in those appliances will degrade and blend into the environment. Those tiny silver particles are called nanosilvers.
These particles are too small to see, and it has existed since thousands of years ago. It means, just like mentioned above, we already have tiny silver particles everywhere. But nanosilver can cause two problems: it is so small and it has so high surface area.
The particles are as small as 1 to 100 nanometers, while our hairs are usually 40,000 to 120,000 nanometers wide. Being so small, it means it can find its way into even the smallest gaps. The gaps that it can penetrate into includes cells of living beings.
And its wide surface area relative to its volume, it has wide area where chemical reactions can happen. The wider the surface area means more chemical reactions will happen. Imagine those nanosilver particles infiltrating into your cells and chemical reactions happen there.
What can nanosilver reaction cause? Ramune Reliene, cancer researcher at the State University of New York in Albany stated that there is still no study suggesting how much nanosilver is too much. What’s known is, it needs 100 to 100,000 times more nanosilver than what we usually encounter naturally to damage our body.
But for microorganisms, it doesn’t need that much to kill them or make them lose their functionality. Not all microorganisms are harmful to the nature, since microorganisms an also benefit the environment in many ways.
One of the examples is for waste water treatment. With high nanosilver contamination, microorganisms working to filter harmful compounds will die. Similar ‘cleaner’ microorganisms that live in our environment can suffer from the same fate as well.
Another case of nanosilver contamination may lead into beneficial microorganism massacre. Microorganisms play important role in our environment, such as breaking down dead organisms and turn them into nutrients for plants.
Later, it will lead into unhealthy soil for plants to grow. Imagine if it happens to lands where our staple foods are grown, such small thing will affect our food security. If used correctly, nanosilver can help us kill annoying microorganisms. But if not, it can kill the beneficial ones.
So, What Should Be Done?
Some researchers suggested that to reach those disasters to happen, we need a lot of nanosilver contamination. Thus, we may not need to worry too much about those things to happen to the whole world in a moment.
“Silver is a big line of defense against microbes. We don’t want to waste this weapon on socks,” said Andrew Maynard, environmental health scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who studied the effect of nanosilver to the environment.
Yes, we might not need to worry about nanosilver contamination to our body too much. But from his study, Maynard found that there is another thing that we need to think about. When exposed to small amount of nanosilver, germs may develop some kind of antibody that will make them harder to kill with silver. It is the same case with when we are being vaccinated.
Particularly, it is because microorganisms are good at developing such kind of resistance to things that threaten their lives. In this case, there is a possibility that microorganisms contaminated with nanosilver will become superbugs.
Isn’t it surprising that not applying silver to your socks can help us to prevent the birth of superbugs to this planet? Well, such small things actually matter to our planet. Thus, if you want to make a change, start from something small.