How Can Colloidal Silver Be Tested for Silver Content?

Description: mad scientist.jpgCan demonstrating the content of a colloidal silver solution help convince skeptical family members or friends that colloidal silver is safe and effective?

Probably not. It’s generally not the content of the silver solution they’re skeptical of, but instead, the safety and effectiveness.

Nevertheless, here are some ways to test your colloidal silver solutions. And some even better ways to help convince skeptical friends or family members of the powerful healing, infection-fighting and immune-boosting qualities of colloidal silver…

Hi, Steve Barwick here, for The Silver Edge

A member of the Colloidal Silver Secrets Community on Facebook recently posted the following question and comment:

“How can colloidal silver be tested for content? Like all other substances that don’t come from a pharmacy by way of a doctor, usage of colloidal silver is a topic that brings up many questions, looks, smirks, smiles, laughs, etc. I have used it for specific problems and have no complaints whatsoever!”

My answer: That’s kind of like asking “How can my Vitamin C be tested for content?” or “How can my fish oil be tested for content?”

If a person is already biased against using natural substances and prefers prescription drugs from a doctor, no amount of content testing of a natural substance like colloidal silver, vitamin C, or fish oil is going to convince them otherwise.

Of course, testing the content of any natural product – including colloidal silver – can be indeed done. But it requires an experienced and licensed testing laboratory, and of course, plenty of money. (But I’ll reveal a simple home test you can do yourself, below…)

Atomic Absorption Analysis and TEM Testing

The gold standard laboratory test for determining the concentration (i.e., ppm) of a batch of colloidal silver is a test called Atomic Absorption Analysis Mass Flame Spectrometry (AAAMFS).

This is about a $500-plus laboratory test conducted on a $50,000 to $100,000-plus piece of lab equipment.

Another lab test, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), can also be used to measure the size of the silver particles, and get a good visual idea of the concentration of silver particles in the solution.

TEM is a $2,000 – $4,000 laboratory test (depending upon number of samples submitted), conducted on a multi-million dollar microscope capable of magnifications up to 175,000x.

This astonishing level of magnification allows you to visually see – and photograph – the tiny, sub-microscopic silver particles in a colloidal silver solution.

For example, at this link you can see a photo-reproduction of a TEM slide demonstrating the tiny, sub-nanometer size of the silver particles produced by the Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator from The Silver Edge.

This TEM slide shows the astonishing concentration of sub-nanometer-sized silver particles in just THREE DROPS from a micro-particle colloidal silver solution.

Atomic Absorption Analysis Mass Flame Spectrometry (AAAMFS) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) are the two main laboratory testing procedures most major colloidal silver vendors use to determine the concentration (i.e., ppm) and particle size of the colloidal silver products they manufacture. There are other equally sophisticated pieces of lab equipment that can be used for testing colloidal silver, but those are the two main ones, and the results are considered so accurate they are accepted in a court of law.

TDS Meters, PPM, and Colloidal Silver Quality

A lot of people who make their own colloidal silver try to use those little $49 TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meters to measure the “ppm” or concentration of their colloidal silver batches.

Generally, they’re operating under the mistaken impression that the “ppm” of a colloidal silver solution determines its quality. Quite the contrary, all the “ppm” tells you is the total weight of silver (i.e., concentration) in a given solution.

As explained in my article “Why Higher PPM Is Not Always Better,” you can have a colloidal silver solution with 500 ppm, and another with 20 ppm, and the 20 ppm solution could easily outperform the supposedly stronger 500 ppm solution.

That’s because stronger concentrations of colloidal silver (i.e., ppm) almost always contain excessively large silver particles which the body treats as if you’d eaten dirt, i.e., it goes in one end and is expelled out the other without being taken into the cells, tissues and organs where the pathogens like to hide and colonize.

So you can’t base quality of a colloidal silver solution solely on the “ppm” or concentration of a batch of colloidal silver. Quality is almost always associated more strongly with particle size – the smaller the silver particles, the easier it is for the body to assimilate and utilize them, sending them throughout the body into the cells, tissues and organs where they can get at the colonies of pathogens.

This is why, when you were young, your parents probably reminded you frequently to “chew your food” when you were eating. The entire reason we have teeth is so we can grind the nutrients out of the food we’re eating, making these nutrients far more accessible to the body once they enter the digestive tract, and easier for the body to capture, assimilate and utilize, i.e., sending them into the cells, tissues and organs where they do the most good.

But un-chewed food provides very little nutrition to the body. The tiny nutrients are not released from un-chewed food, and it pretty much goes in one end and out the other. Therefore those who make it a point to thoroughly chew their food before swallowing it typically get far more life-giving nutrition into their body than those who don’t.

This is the same with colloidal silver: Ingesting solutions composed of overly large silver particles will tend to go in one end and out the other, while solutions composed of ultra-small silver particles (i.e., micro-particle silver, or as it’s now called, “nanoparticle” silver) are accepted by the body as “nutrition,” and carried throughout the body into the cells, tissues and organs where needed.

Thus, the particle size, far more than “ppm,” is what makes for an effective, high-quality colloidal silver solution.

This is why, distributors of the Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator, places far more emphasis on the particle size of a batch of colloidal silver than on the ppm.

And it’s why you should always do business with a company willing to post the results of their independent lab testing on their web site. This is true whether you’re looking to purchase a colloidal silver generator to make your own colloidal silver, or whether you prefer to buy commercial brands of colloidal silver.

While ppm is a good thing to know, the particle size is far more important in terms of the ability of a colloidal silver solution to produce healing results in the human body.

Why TDS Meters Fall Short

That brings me back to TDS meters. TDS stands for “total dissolved solids.”

These little devices work fairly well if you’re trying to measure the levels of typical mineral substances found in tap water, aquarium water, a hydroponics system, a swimming pool, or even a pond or lake.

Unfortunately, TDS meters are notoriously inaccurate for measuring the concentration of silver in a colloidal silver solution.

The main problem with TDS meters is that they’re specifically designed and calibrated to measure the ppm (concentration) of dissolved solids such as sodium, potassium, phosphate, nitrate, alkaline, calcium, sulfur and others.

These are mineral substances that dissolve upon exposure to liquid. And typically they can be found in concentrations of many hundreds of ppm in water sources such as ponds, lakes, streams, hydroponic gardens, aquariums, home tap water, etc.

But colloidal silver is not a dissolved solid. Indeed, whether in the ionic form or the metallic form, it’s a suspended particulate. That’s quite another animal altogether, with decidedly different qualities than a dissolved solid.

Simply put, unlike dissolved solids such as salt, calcium, etc., silver doesn’t dissolve in water. So trying to use a Total Dissolved Solids (i.e., TDS) meter to read a colloidal silver solution consisting of suspended particulates of silver puts you at a decided disadvantage right from the get-go.

What’s more, TDS meters are generally calibrated using a calibration solution that’s composed of anywhere from 300 ppm to 1,000 ppm (or even higher) of dissolved salt. Yet concentrations of typical colloidal silver solutions are usually in the range of 10-20 ppm, and again, are composed chiefly of suspended particulates rather than dissolved solids such as salts.

It gets even worse when you come to realize that only about 90% of the suspended silver particles in a typical colloidal silver solution produce sufficient electrical potential to register strongly on a TDS meter. And of the 90% that can be measured, the electrical potential is less than HALF the electrical potential of the salt solution used to calibrate the TDS meter in the first place.

So the more you examine the situation, the more the potential for significant inaccuracy continues to pile up. Indeed, all of this taken together can produce a minimum of a 50% or greater deviation in accuracy when using a TDS meter to measure the “ppm” of a typical colloidal silver solution.

Most TDS meters have ranges of 0 to 999 ppm, or 0 to 1999 ppm, depending upon which meter you buy. And they claim a 2% accuracy of full scale. That means a properly calibrated meter that reads from 0 to 999 ppm can be off by as much as 20 ppm. And a properly calibrated meter that reads from 0-1999 ppm can be off by as much as 40 ppm. (Improperly calibrated meters can be off by even more.)

Now a 2% deviation (i.e., a 20 or 40 ppm error) is fine perhaps, if you’re a researcher measuring the levels of dissolved solids in a lake, which can be in the many hundreds of ppm or even up to 1,000 ppm. And a 2% deviation can be acceptable, perhaps, if you’re an aquarium hobbyist trying to keep your fish tank between 200 and 300 ppm dissolved solids, because your exotic tropical fish thrive best in that range. But if you’re trying to measure a colloidal silver solution at, say, the 10-20 ppm range, it’s quite obvious that a 20 or 40 ppm possible error rate is simply not acceptable.

In short, trying to use a TDS meter to measure a 10-20 ppm colloidal silver solution is like trying to measure the weight of a sewing needle with a bathroom scale. You might get a reading. But it’s unlikely to be the right one. It’s simply not designed to do the job. It’s just not the right tool.

(As an aside, one colloidal silver generator manufacturer even has a video on his web site showing the calibration solution he supplies with the TDS meters he sells. It states right on the label that it’s a 1,382 ppm saline calibration solution. Yet he openly admits his generator produces only a 10-20 ppm colloidal silver solution. Do you see the problem here with the readings that will be produced by a TDS meter calibrated to a 1,382 ppm solution of dissolved salt?)

In actual matter of fact, no TDS meter was ever designed to measure a colloidal silver solution. And not one reputable manufacturer of TDS meters sell, market or advertise their product as being able to measure colloidal silver.

Only unscrupulous colloidal silver vendors and self-appointed YouTube colloidal silver “gurus” on the internet (who sell these little TDS meters for $49 to $69 a pop, usually after buying them in bulk from Thailand for $7 to $10 apiece) claim they’re accurate for measuring colloidal silver.

The bottom line is that a TDS meter is specifically designed to measure the level of total dissolved solids in a liquid solution by reacting to the electrolytic conductivity in the solution created by the dissolved solids. The more dissolved solids in the water, the more electrolytic conductivity can be measured.

But colloidal silver, correctly made, should have as close to zero total dissolved solids in the water as possible. After all, you start with steam-distilled water, which should contain anywhere from zero (best case scenario) to no more than 1 ppm dissolved solids.

And the only thing added during the colloidal silver-making process is suspended silver particulates such as silver ions, silver oxide or metallic silver. No dissolved solids.

So a typical colloidal silver solution should, at the very most, contain 1 ppm total dissolved solids, preferably even less. And the remaining 99% (or more) of the colloidal silver solution should be composed of suspended silver particulates. Yet the YouTube colloidal silver “gurus” continue to sell total dissolved solids meters to measure colloidal silver solutions composed of 99% suspended particulates of silver.

Unbelievable, I know. But it’s true.

Finally, if you understand the fact that “ppm” is actually a measurement of the weight of a substance (such as silver) in a liquid solution (see this link for an eye-opening explanation of ppm), you can easily see another reason why TDS meters can be so inaccurate – they don’t weigh anything.

So a TDS meter produces what can only be described at best as a very crude estimate of the ppm of a batch of colloidal silver.

Even the tech gurus at Hanna – the most respected manufacturer of TDS meters in the world – will tell you their units are not designed for accurately measuring the concentration of colloidal silver in a solution.

You simply can’t expect the kind of accuracy out of a $49 or $69 hand-held device that you’ll get out of a multi-million dollar piece of laboratory equipment like a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) or a $50,000 to $100,000 piece of lab equipment like an Atomic Absorption Analysis Mass Flame Spectrometer (AAMFS).

Indeed, if TDS meters were so accurate, why do laboratories invest hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on high-tech measurement equipment like AAMFS when instead they could spend $49 to $69 on one of these little meters and throw one helluva party in Las Vegas with the rest of the money?

The question pretty much answers itself. The meters are clumsy “toys” compared to high-tech laboratory measurement equipment.


Although I won’t sell TDS meters through my company due to the fact I think it’s deceptive to promote them as “accurate” for measuring colloidal silver solutions, I do nevertheless own three of them.

I occasionally use my TDS meters to check the ppm of my steam-distilled water to make sure it’s 1 ppm or less total dissolved solids, because I know that makes the best quality colloidal silver.

And sometimes I compare the readings of one batch of colloidal silver against another batch if I’ve run the batches for different lengths of time. But I know that’s just for comparison’s sake, and not an accurate measurement of the actual ppm.

If it makes you feel better to have one of these little devices simply understand in advance that they can be up to 50% or more inaccurate, and that at best you’re getting only a crude estimate of the actual silver content in your colloidal silver batches. It’s better to deal with a company that shares their independent laboratory testing, so you know what you’re getting.

TDS meters can inexpensively be purchased at many online resources. So don’t pay $69 or $79 to some “guru” (who’s getting them from Thailand for $7 or $10 apiece), when you can find them with a simple Google search for half that price, or sometimes even less.

Simple Laser Light Test

Finally, if you simply want to make sure there are silver particles in your solution after you’ve made a batch of colloidal silver, you can perform a simple home laser light test. See my short video of how to perform this test, here.

While this test won’t give you a measurement of the ppm, or concentration, it allows you to see visually that there are indeed billions of tiny silver particles suspended in your colloidal silver solution.

In other words, it allows you to answer the oft-asked question, “How do I know there are any silver particles in this solution?”

To do this test, you’ll need one of those little red laser pointer lights, available through online sources for under $20 (or at your local Wal-Mart for under $5). Here’s how it works:

If you pour about four or five ounces of colloidal silver into a clear drinking glass, and then go into a dark closet and shine a red laser pointer light down (from the top) into the solution (don’t shine it into your eyes), you’ll be able to see a thin read beam of red light shining through the solution.

That’s because the red laser light reflects off of the tiny silver particles in the solution. This is your evidence that you actually have billions of tiny microscopic silver particles suspended by their electrical charge in the solution.

Were you to do the same thing with plain old distilled water, you’d see no red light shining through the water whatsoever, because there is no mineral content in the plain distilled water for the red laser light to reflect off of.

When shining a red laser light into your colloidal silver solution, the light shining through the solution will be very bright if the silver particles are particularly large. That’s because they have a larger reflective surface, and therefore reflect more of the red laser light.

But if the silver particles are particularly small, you’ll see a thinner, much more faint red light shining through the solution. That’s because the smaller silver particles have less reflective surface.

Either way, you can shine the red laser light all through the solution, and the red beam you’ll see demonstrates the fact that the solution is literally teeming with billions upon billions of tiny silver particles suspended in the solution by their electrical charge.

If you look closely at the red beam in the solution (again, never shine it into your eyes, as this can cause injury or blindness), you might even see what appears to be movement of the tiny silver particles through the thin beam of red light, as if the silver particles were “dancing” in and out of the red beam. You might even see occasional tiny “flashes” in the red laser beam light.

Here’s what’s happening:

Thanks to the positive electrical charge on each silver particle in the solution, these silver particles are in a constant state of motion referred to in science as Brownian motion.

Similar to the way a magnet will repel another magnet if you attempt to touch their like polls together (i.e., positive to positive, or negative to negative), the positive electrical charge on these billions and billions of silver particles in a colloidal silver solution also cause them to repel one another sharply as they come into close proximity with each other.

This keeps all of the silver particles in the solution constantly moving, as if every human being on the planet were to suddenly start dancing with each other – no one touching each other, but nevertheless creating a bustling “hive” (so to speak) of non-stop activity everywhere you look.

Only in the case of a colloidal silver solution, it’s electro-magnetically propelled activity.

What you are seeing in the red laser light, if you look closely enough are hundreds of thousands or even millions of sub-microscopic silver particles separated from each other by their positive electrical charge, appearing to “dance” or even “flash” through the red laser beam.

Convincing Skeptical Friends and Family Members

So, testing a colloidal silver solution for content can easily be done. But convincing skeptical friends, family members etc., that this actually means anything to them is the hard part.

You need something more than just hard data. In that light, you might enjoy my article from earlier this year, titled “Trials and Tribulations of Telling Friends and Family Members About Colloidal Silver.” If you’ve ever had a friend or family member give you that smirk usually reserved for crazy uncles after you’ve tried to tell them about colloidal silver, you’ll relate totally to this article.

You might also find that referring skeptical friends and family members to the Colloidal Silver Success Stories web site is a far more effective way of helping educate them and allay their skepticism toward colloidal silver.

On this web site, literally dozens of experienced colloidal silver users have written in with their personal experiences in using colloidal silver for an astonishingly wide range of health issues.

Oft times, the easiest way to convince skeptics is to let them see for themselves what multitudes of other people outside of their close circle of family members and friends have to say.

Another way to help allay the skepticism so frequently encountered when telling people about the infection-fighting and immune-boosting properties of colloidal silver is to refer them to the “What Experts Say About Colloidal Silver” page of web site.

This web page has hundreds and hundreds of quotes on colloidal silver usage, safety, efficacy and much more, from modern-day health and medical experts, as well as quotes from the experts going back all of the way to the late 1800’s.

Again, when even the most hardened skeptic gets to see for himself that colloidal silver has been used successfully in health and medicine for over 110 years, this can be very convincing evidence.

Finally, the “Clinical Studies and Reports on Colloidal Silver” page on web site is also a treasure trove of solid clinical evidence demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of colloidal silver.

This web page contains over four dozen clinical medical studies and “white paper” reports on colloidal silver’s effectiveness, many from major medical universities and clinical research facilities. (And I continue to add new studies to this page as they come out.)

Being able to show your skeptical friends and family members the actual clinical studies demonstrating the effectiveness of colloidal silver often proves to be extremely helpful in convincing them to at least give colloidal silver a fair shake before dismissing or denigrating it.

The Best Test of All

The best test of all for colloidal silver, of course, is using it.

No matter how a particular colloidal silver product can be defined from a laboratory perspective, it is only truly “good” if it effectively supports or enhances the body’s ability to kill infections, without causing harm to the body itself.

Short of that, it is a relatively worthless product no matter how many self-serving laboratory parameters it is claimed to fit.

With “good” colloidal silver properly defined as that which really works when you use it, the only thing left for the consumer to decide is whether to make “good” colloidal silver at home for pennies per quart with a high-quality home colloidal silver generator, or to purchase “good” colloidal silver from commercial vendors at prices ranging from 500 to 1,000 times the cost of making your own.

With a high-quality Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator from The Silver Edge, you can make a full quart (32 ounces) of high-quality micro-particle colloidal silver for about thirty six cents.

Or, you can pay a commercial vendor up to $29 or more for a tiny four-ounce bottle of colloidal silver.

Let common-sense be your guide. And until the next issue, I remain…

Yours for the safe, sane and responsible use of colloidal silver,
Steve Barwick Signature
Steve Barwick, author
The Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual

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Meet Steve Barwick

Important Note and Disclaimer: The contents of this Ezine have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information conveyed herein is from sources deemed to be accurate and reliable, but no guarantee can be made in regards to the accuracy and reliability thereof. The author, Steve Barwick, is a natural health journalist with over 30 years of experience writing professionally about natural health topics. He is not a doctor. Therefore, nothing stated in this Ezine should be construed as prescriptive in nature, nor is any part of this Ezine meant to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Nothing reported herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The author is simply reporting in journalistic fashion what he has learned during the past 17 years of journalistic research into colloidal silver and its usage. Therefore, the information and data presented should be considered for informational purposes only, and approached with caution. Readers should verify for themselves, and to their own satisfaction, from other knowledgeable sources such as their doctor, the accuracy and reliability of all reports, ideas, conclusions, comments and opinions stated herein. All important health care decisions should be made under the guidance and direction of a legitimate, knowledgeable and experienced health care professional. Readers are solely responsible for their choices. The author and publisher disclaim responsibility and/or liability for any loss or hardship that may be incurred as a result of the use or application of any information included in this Ezine.

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[IMPORTANT NOTE AND DISCLAIMER: We are not doctors. We are distributors of electronic appliances and nutritional supplements. Therefore we cannot and do not offer medical advice. Please do not call with medical questions. If you have a medical problem, please see your licensed physician. Self-treatment is not recommended. The FDA has not evaluated the information contained on this web site. Products distributed by The Silver Edge are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Testimonials are the subjective experiences of our customers and are not intended to be construed as being prescriptive in nature, nor a guarantee that the usage methods described are safe, effective or reliable, nor a guarantee that your results will be the same; individual results may vary. Additionally, the contents of this web site are strictly for information purposes only, and should not in any way be construed as providing or attempting to provide medical advice. Information on this web site is derived from sources deemed to be accurate and reliable, but no guarantee, express or implied, can be made regarding the accuracy or reliability of same. Therefore readers are encouraged to verify for themselves and to their own satisfaction the accuracy and reliability of all reports, recommendations, conclusions, comments, and opinions. The Silver Edge does not make any claims or promises as to health benefits accruing from the use of any product. There is plenty of publicly available independent documentation -- both pro and con -- regarding the uses and efficacy of colloidal silver and its long history in health and medicine. For a comprehensive overview, you may want to obtain a copy of The Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual (547 pages, from Life & Health Research Group, LLC, 1-888-846-9029). Or see the link above to "Some Interesting Sources of Information on Colloidal Silver." Colloidal silver generators are electronic appliances designed to produce high-quality silver colloid. They are not medical devices. The Silver Edge specifically disclaims responsibility or liability for any loss or hardship that may be incurred by the reader as a result of the application of any information included on this web site, or as a result of the use or misuse of any electronic product or nutritional supplement. You are solely responsible for your health and nutrition choices. Anyone with additional information on colloidal silver is encouraged to write to The Silver Edge at the address directly below, so that it can be shared with others who may be interested.]