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Silver Nitrate history can be traced back to a certain Albertus Magnus, a great scholar and alchemist of the Middle Ages, whose experiments with light-sensitive compounds enabled him to discover Silver Nitrate. He realised that Nitric Acid could be used to separate the metals Gold and Silver by dissolving the Silver. This left Silver Nitrate.
Early names for Silver Nitrate were ‘Nitric Acid Silver’ and ‘Lunar Caustic’. The word ‘Lunar’ referred to the name early alchemists gave to the metal Silver which referred to the silvery appearance of the moon.
Silver Nitrate history shows that AgNO3, as its chemical formula is known, was used widely in solution as a means of preventing the spread of gonorrhoea in newborn infants. Mothers often had this disease which could be passed on their offspring.
Long before the discovery of antibiotics, doctors used a very dilute solution of Silver Nitrate drops in the babies eyes, as it could act as a preventative measure against contraction of the disease. However, an exact strength solution was often difficult to achieve and it was possible to over-administer and indeed cause the very blindness in newborn babies that it was trying to protect against. Nonetheless, this rather crude method of protecting infants did meet with some success and was probably the only option long ago.
Silver Nitrate history can also be traced to the advent of photography, when it was discovered that Silver Nitrate could be used to great effect in this emerging industry. This is due to the fact that Silver Nitrate is extremely light-sensitive. Silver Nitrate history also tells us that Silver Nitrate was used for many years as an antiseptic, in dressings for wounds and in salves. Today, Silver Nitrate can be used to disinfect large-scale water systems such as one found in hotels and hospitals. Silver Nitrate is also used to coat catheters to help prevent infection. Space missions also use Silver Nitrate to help recycle the water used on space craft.
Silver Nitrate is used in the marine industry. One such use is to clean oysters and crabs after harvesting from the sea. Another marine use is to determine the presence of Chlorine in seawater with the use of AgNO3.
Silver Nitrate is classified as Toxic, Corrosive and Hazardous to the Environment. Short-term damage to skin will appear as darkening or staining of the skin. However, long-term exposure results in serious burns and severe eye damage can occur if exposed to the product. AgNO3 vapours or dust should never be inhaled as they cause severe damage to the delicate mucous membranes of the nose and respiratory tract. Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should include protective clothing, approved eye protection, safety boots or shoes and appropriate breathing apparatus or fume extraction.
The regulatory classifications governing the classification of Silver Nitrate change on 1 December 2010. Prior to this date, Silver Nitrate is governed by CHiP Regulations which stands for 'Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging) for Supply REgulations 2009. After 1 December 2010, Silver Nitrate is re-classified under the CLP REgulations (EC) No 1272/2008. Full details of the differences in classification according to each set of Regulations can be found on the Silver Nitrate Labelling pages of this website.
For further details on other aspects of Silver Nitrate, including Silver Nitrate Hazards, Silver Nitrate Uses, Lunar Caustic, Silver Nitrate Packaging and Transporting Silver Nitrate, please refer to the relevant pages of this website.
http://www.silver-nitrate.co.uk/silver-nitrate-history | Saved Thursday, November 17th, 2011 - 11:38 AM