Hi, Steve Barwick here, for The Silver Edge…
In 2000 I wrote an article titled Big Business Moves into Silver-Based Antimicrobial Products in a BIG Way.
It later became the most widely re-reprinted article on the growing uses of antimicrobial silver in consumer goods ever written.
In that article I revealed that NASA had actually invented the technology for producing ionic silver and using it to disinfect the astronaut's drinking water in space:
"Even NASA used silver ions to maintain the water purity aboard the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. This technology was originally developed by NASA at the very beginning of manned space flights, back in the 1960's.
At that time, scientists from NASA and the Garrett Corporation Air Research Division began a joint project to develop a water purification system for the Apollo spacecraft. This unit had to be small, lightweight and consume as little power as possible.
They produced a purifier that was slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes and weighed only nine ounces. The device used electrolysis to dispense silver ions into the spacecraft's water supply, successfully killing off any bacteria.
If this device sounds familiar, it should. It can be considered the forerunner of the common low-voltage DC current colloidal silver generator in widespread use today by savvy consumers who want to produce their own high-quality colloidal silver quickly and inexpensively!
NASA's ingenuity at controlling microbial contamination in the Apollo spacecraft's water supply opened the doors for safer methods of controlling water pollutants here on Earth.
NASA held the patent on the device, but authorized a company in Cornelia, Georgia, called Carefree Clearwater, to manufacture this device for civilian use. This lead to the creation of a whole new industry based on the power of silver ions to eradicate microbial contaminants.
Since that time, numerous companies have developed their own version of NASA's silver ion generator.
Today, it is the world's #1 selling product for microbial control in swimming pools, hot water spas, decorative fountains, ponds, manufacturing processes, and evaporative water cooling towers."
In April 2009 I wrote and published the article Silver: Nature's Purifier Used on the Space Shuttle and In Swimming Pools, in which I pointed out:
"After testing 23 methods of purifying water, NASA also chose silver as the purifying agent on the Space Shuttle Program.
Silver is being used in two functions that provide Shuttle crews with pure water for drinking, air conditioning, food preparation and other operations.
Water wastes are recycled in Shuttle flights and silver's first job is to treat hydrogen-saturated water coming from the Shuttle fuel cells: this water passes through a tubular device of palladium and silver alloy.
From the silver-palladium tubes the water flows to a purifying unit where silver eliminates bacteria, including Pseudomonas A and type III A bacteria, NASA scientists report.
By establishing 100 parts of silver in a billion parts of water as hygenic for drinking in the Shuttle, NASA eliminates the need for 1,000 to 1,500 parts per billion of chlorine generally used for purification.
The unit currently used provides Shuttle crews with 32 gallons of pure water daily for all uses within the Shuttle, as well as for backpacks when the astronauts work outside the vehicle in space.
Compared to earlier prototypes, the new unit weighs 90% less, needs only one-third the space. It also doubles the production of water and simplifies the process: it eliminates the need for mixing, metering and testing water while in flight and eliminates the risk of corrosion."
Shortly afterwards, I was barraged with emails from angry individuals claiming that silver has never been used on the Space Shuttle, or in any manned U.S. space missions, and that the water purification method of choice for U.S. manned space flights is iodine.
This, of course, was only partially true:
The U.S. had indeed switched to the use of iodine for water purification inside the International Space Station, while the Russians – who control one-half of the space station – stood firm with the original silver-based technology to keep the water their cosmonauts drink fresh, pure and germ-free.
So silver was (and is) still being used in space missions, but by the Russians and not the Americans.
When the barrage of hate emails claiming that silver had never been used by Americans in space finally began to ebb, I posted a document I found on the NASA.gov website, demonstrating that colloidal silver had indeed been used in space flights by the U.S. since the mid-1960's, and that NASA had invented the technology.
I also wrote and published the article "Have NASA or the Russian Space Program Ever Used Colloidal Silver as a Water Disinfectant on Manned Space Flights?", in which I pointed out that way back in 1976 when the Space Shuttle first began missions with astronauts on board, silver was used to disinfect the onboard water.
Indeed, I uncovered a 1976 press release from The Silver Institute which stated, "Silver will be used in two functions that will provide Shuttle crews with pure water for drinking, air conditioning, food preparation and other operations."
And going back even further, I revealed a May 1973 press release from The Silver Institute explaining that the Russians, too, were using silver-based water purification systems in space:
"Russian scientists working on water recycling and purification problems for the Soviet space ship and orbiting station program have decided on silver as the best long-term sanitizing agent.
Researching the problems of water storage over periods of several months, as well as purification for immediate use, they determined that ionized silver provides the safest and longest lasting method of transforming polluted waste in potable water.
A significant fact in support of their decision to use silver for purification was their experimental confirmation of the absence of toxicity in the silver treated water.
In lengthy experiments on animals they found that 100 parts and 200 parts of silver per billion in drinking water does not accumulate in the organism and does not produce any detrimental effect on the functioning of the organs or systems of the experimental animals.
This was also confirmed by year long experiments on volunteer human subjects. The scientists, Drs. S. V. Chizhov, S. P. Pak, N. N. Sitnikova and Y.U. Koloskova tried many methods of purifying regenerated water but all except the silver system proved unsatisfactory over the long run.
In sum, the Russians found silver to be the safest sterilizing agent, stable, and long-lasting."
Déjà vu All Over Again
Now, according to an August 25, 2015 article on Bloomberg.com, antimicrobial silver is apparently making a come-back in the American space program.
"The space station carries roughly 2,000 liters of water in reserve for emergencies, split about evenly between the U.S. and the Russian sections of the International Space Station.
The two sides operate separate water systems mainly because of decades-old decisions on how best to disinfect water…
…the U.S. relies on iodine and the Russians relying on a different go-to: silver, which in its ionic form is a powerful antimicrobial agent…
…NASA has decided to switch to silver-ionized water on future missions…"
So there you have it. We've come back full circle. According to Bloomberg, future NASA space missions will utilize antimicrobial silver for water disinfection purposes.
So once again, when people ask you why you love colloidal silver so much, you can say:
"Because it's used on the Space Station to help keep the astronaut's drinking water free from bacterial contamination…and the U.S. space program as well as the Russian space program has determined that it's perfectly safe to ingest long-term at the levels needed to kill the germs in drinking water."