Effects of Silver on Humans Living Near a SilverMine

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Işıklı B., Temir Ali D., Özelmas Ü., Berber A.

Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences, no.28, pp.655-659, 1998 (Scopus)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Journal Name: Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.655-659
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of silver mining on individuals living in Gümüş, a province of Kütahya in Turkey, which is located near a silver mine. For this purpose, two groups of subjects were chosen. The first group consisted of 59 people (n=59) above the age of 30 who had been potentially exposed to silver. The second group, which formed the control group of the study, were the same age as the first group (p>0.05) but had not been exposed to silver manufacturing, and lacked a history of silver medication. Blood, urine, hair, soil, rock, water, plant and cereal samples were collected and were analyzed for total silver content by Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. Statistical analyses were conducted using the “t test”, “chi square test” or “pearson correlaction test”. For the subjects, the mean concentration of silver in the blood was 11.356 µg/L, in the urine it was 2.619 µg/L, and in the hair it was 2.592 µg/g. The same values for the control group were 6.059 µg/L, 1.700 µg/L, and 0.980 µg/g respectively. The values of the subjects were significantly higher than the ones in the control group (p<0.001, p<0.001, p<0.001 respectively). In addition to these findings, the mean concentrations of silver in the soil and rocks of the village were 3265.6 µg/g, 7095.5 µg/g respectively, which were significantly higher than the control group’s means (p<0.001, p<0.001). Both samples of water from the village and the control area had no silver content (0 µg/L). The mean concentrations of silver in the cereals and plants from the village were 0.105 µg/g and 3.589 µg/g respectively, which were significantly higher than the control samples (p<0.001, p<0.001). None of the subjects had symptoms of argyria, but most of them had significantly higher systolic blood pressure than the control subjects (p<0.001). The results of our study indicate that generalized argyria is unlikely to occur in individuals who live near a silver mine, although they have high levels of silver in their blood, urine and hair.