Nanotechnology refers to matter at length scales of 1 to 100 nanometers. Yet materials this small could either be of natural origins or man-made origins. Thus the terms “natural nanomaterials” and “engineered nanomaterials” are used. An example of engineered nanomaterials is the electronics components in your smart phones. An example of natural nanomaterials is the protein colloids in milk that give milk both its white color and its healthy protein benefits. You might be more familiar with this concept than you realize. The idea of natural products means using chemicals that are found naturally in plants or the environment as ingredients (such as plant extracts or aloe vera juice), while the phrase chemicals is used to refer to molecules engineered by man to have specific properties (such as plastics or pharmaceutical drugs).

The particles in our hydrosols are not engineered at the nanoscale, but rather occur naturally as part of silver’s natural equilibrium between ionic and metal particle states. A significant amount is known about this natural cycle of silver between ions and natural nanoparticles. Silver is a naturally-occurring element that is widely distributed, albeit at low concentrations, in natural waters. Peer reviewed literature provides evidence of naturally occurring silver colloids and silver nanoparticles in river waters in Texas (Wen et al., Environmental Science & Technology, 1997) and in Mexico (Gomez-Caballero et al., Can. Mineral, 2010), with the mechanisms of formation being understood to include natural organic matter (Akaighe et al., Environmental Science & Technology, 2014).

Asking whether nanomaterials are safe is an intelligent question. The nanomaterial scientific and research community has been forward thinking and responsible about these risks too. Over 15 years ago, researchers and funding agencies were asking the question: “If nanotechnology gives us new material properties we want to use for benefits, could those new properties potentially pose new hazards?” Thus, the field of nanomaterial environmental health and safety (nanoEHS) research was born. Under the National Nanotechnology Initiative’s tracking of total R&D spending on nanotechnology, nearly 5% of the investment portfolio was focused on nanoEHS safety, a greater percentage than any other time in history for a disruptive technology. Two documents also support this position:

  • “Risks Arising from Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies on Food and Feed Safety and the Environment” – European Food Safety Agency Journal 2009
This paper addresses whether or not a given nanomaterial is subject to specific risk assessment intended for “engineered nanomaterials,” under the terms described in the EFSA opinion “Risks Arising from Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies on Food and Feed Safety and the Environment” [EFSA Journal 2009 (958) 1-39]. This opinion emphasizes that the risk assessment guidelines given are applicable only to engineered nanomaterials, given that a wide variety of naturally-occurring nanomaterials to which humans are exposed, especially in foodstuffs, would otherwise become subject to these risk assessments. This is deemed unnecessary, because these naturally-occurring nanomaterials – which include vitamins, minerals (as in bio-active silver hydrosol™), amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and fats – are all in the nanoscale and so conform to the definition of nanomaterial.
  • A scientific review entitled “120 years of Nanosilver History: Implication for Policy Makers”
”120 years of Nanosilver History: Implications for Policy Makers” (Nowack et al, 2011), published in the peer reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology, states the reasons why silver at the nano size, as in Sovereign Silver®, should not be classified as a product of nanotechnology, simply based on its particle size:  “Regardless of what nomenclature is used, any concept of risk must ultimately derive from chemical and physical characteristics of a specific material. Applying the general prefix “nano” does not in itself automatically render a material harmful. Although today’s nanosilver has many alternative nomenclatures and historical aliases, including “colloidal silver,” the underlying material is the same; extremely small particles of silver. Contrary to many common assumptions, nanosilver materials have a deep historical record of demonstrated safe use together with a long period of formal and successful regulatory oversight. The use of very high doses of colloidal nanosilver at the beginning of the 20th century has sparked a vast amount of research on the toxicology of nanosilver, resulting in the first exposure limits for silver and subsequent regulations on its use. Clearly nanosilver is a material that does not fit the paradigm of a “new” chemical with new and unknown risks. To consider otherwise is to confuse nomenclature (nano) instead of considering the material itself.”

Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol cannot be regarded as an engineered nanoparticle because:

  • Nanomaterials have always existed in the food supply; in fact, water is a nanomaterial!
  • Silver is a naturally-occurring element that is widely distributed including in natural nanoscale forms, albeit at low concentrations, in drinking water and in food such as milk, mushrooms and wheat.
  • Silver hydrosol cannot be regarded as an “engineered nanomaterial,” because the silver ions and nanoclusters are in a naturally occurring equilibrium balance due to the purity of our product and the packaging in amber glass to prevent light or oxygen from altering that natural balance.
  • Silver hydrosols and similar products (i.e., colloidal silver) have been consumed for over 120 years in different parts of the world, with a remarkable safety record. The few incidents of argyria have been associated with use of homemade silver-based products; abuse of such products with consumption many times the recommended dosage; the over-use of silver salts, silver proteins or compounds; or exposure via inhalation of silver dust.
  • There is ample evidence of the historical safe use of Natural Immunogenics’ silver hydrosol, with not a single known adverse event registered over more than a decade of sale at the domestic and international levels.