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Ionization Articles

History of Silver

The bactericidal effectiveness of silver in minute concentrations has been known for many centuries. Greek historians wrote that Cyrus the Greek, King of Prussia, carried water in silver flagons on his various military expeditions to keep water fresh. At the height of the Roman Empire people of wealth used silver goblets and silver eating utensils. During the Middle Ages, a silver spoon was put in the mouth of a newborn baby “to drive out diseases”. When settlers moved across the American West, they would purify a container of water by putting a silver dollar in it overnight. Silver dollars were also used to keep milk from spoiling. Silver foil was used to cover wounds and surgical lesions to prevent infection and promote the healing process.

During the 1930’s and 1940’s, there was considerable interest in the use of silver for water disinfection in the United States, Russia and Poland. Investigators recognized the bactericidal effectiveness of silver but little was done to develop the process because of the availability and low cost of chlorine.

Silver-based chlorine-free water purification systems have been used effectively in Europe for many years. European labs have proven it to be a harmless, simple and effective means of killing all vegetative germs present in drinking water, especially those causing diseases such as typhus, paratyphus, dysentery, colibacillosis, cholera and also the viruses causing influenza and mumps.

Some 30 years ago, Mexicana de Microdyn developed a silver coating which, when painted on the inside walls of reservoirs, provides a year-long bactericidal protection of drinking water in warm climates where chlorine evaporates, leaving water unprotected.

Today silver is the leading method for treatment of burn victims in burn centers throughout the United States. Bacteria multiply very rapidly on burn areas. Silver compounds stop bactericidal growth and permit the burn area to heal. Drops of silver nitrate solutions are applied to the eyes of newborn babies to prevent blindness from gonorrheal infection. Silver is used in our teeth fillings to prevent decay.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced January 1991 that it has removed silver from the U.S. Primary Drinking Water Standard List of Contaminants. Prior the EPA limited the amount of silver in drinking water to 50 ppb. In swimming pools/spas, less than this is used as a bactericide. The EPA decision will result in an important increase in the use of silver as an alternative means of purifying water throughout the United States.

Coppers Role: Copper ions are algicidal, fungicidal as well as bactericidal. Allowable copper limits in drinking water set by the EPA are 1.3 ppm. Less than 1/4 of this used in pools and spas. Copper is a daily required nutrient and you would need to drink a gallon of your pool water per day to get your minimum daily requirement. Copper is widely accepted as a powerful algaecide.