Why Silver - Detailed
Brief History and Medical Use of Silver
The use of silver can be traced back in history. Silver was used in ancient times to preserve water (use of silver vessels, use of silver coins). Its use for medicinal purposes has been first documented in 750 AD, although it may have occurred before that.
In the 17th century, silver was described as an essential multipurpose medicinal product and was used to treat epilepsy and cholera.
The first scientific paper describing the medical use of silver has been attributed to F. Crédé in the late nineteen century who used one-percent silver nitrate solution as eye drops in newborns, eliminating blindness caused by postpartum eye infections, and in 1901 for internal antisepsis.
At the beginning of the 20th century the use of silver foil dressing was introduced by W.D. Halstead a surgeon; the dressing was listed on the Physician’s Desk Reference until 1955.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved charged silver solutions (i.e. electrocolloidals) in the 1920s for use as antibacterial agents. At the same period, A.C. Barnes in Philadelphia invented Argyrol as a local antiseptic to prevent eye infections in particular.
Silver ions embedded in yarn finds use in antibacterial garments such as athletic clothing, socks, underwear, pillows and so forth. Antibacterial activity in the yarn helps to remove unpleasant odours which are a direct result of the proliferation of bacteria. Such products are already available and popular and promoted as anti-acne or anti-stink technology, which inhibits the growth of odour-causing bacteria on the garment.
Other uses include creams, shoe insoles, surfaces of kitchen appliances (fridges and microwaves), food packaging and numerous other objects where antibacterial activity and mould suppression are desirable.
Further reading on use of silver to combat bacterial and microbial activity:
American Society for Microbiology