Toxicity of silver ions, metallic silver, and silver nanoparticle materials after in vivo dermal and mucosal surface exposure: A review

Niels Hadrup*, Anoop Kumar Sharma, Katrin Löschner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Silver is used in different applications that result in contact with skin and mucosal surfaces (e.g., jewelry, wound dressings, or eye drops). Intact skin poses an effective barrier against the absorption of silver. Mucosal surfaces are observed to be less effective barriers and compromised skin is often a poor barrier. Silver can deposit as particles in the human body causing a blue-gray discoloration known as argyria. Urine and feces are reported pathways of excretion. Acute human mortality has been observed following an abortion procedure involving the intrauterine administration of 7 g silver nitrate (64 mg silver/kg body weight). Localized argyria has been reported with exposure to silver ions, metallic surfaces, and nanocrystalline silver. Generalized argyria was observed with ionic and nanocrystalline silver in humans at cumulative doses in the range of 70–1500 mg silver/kg body weight. Silver is observed to have a low potential for skin irritation. Eye irritation and some cases of allergic contact dermatitis have been reported. Silver may cause genotoxicity, but additional data are required to assess its carcinogenic potential. Other reported toxicities include hepatic, renal, neurological, and hematological effects.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Volume98
Pages (from-to)257-267
Number of pages11
ISSN0273-2300
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Silver
  • Nanoparticle
  • Nanocrystalline
  • Acticoat
  • Silver sulfadine
  • Toxicology
  • Dermal
  • Eye
  • Metallic
  • Genotoxicity

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