Toxno Substance Profile
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Substance Name

Silver nitrate
Identification Number: CASRN | 7761-88-8

  Substance Attributes


  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.


    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Toxic to Wildlife

    May kill plants, fish, birds or other animals and insects or may be very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects. This then effects delicate environmental ecology and food supply in ways we don't fully understand yet.

These attributes are ONLY based on peer-reviewed evidence. See link to Data Sources below. Everyone benefits from knowing this stuff. Please Share.



  • CATEGORIES: Industrial/Workplace Toxin | Synthetic Toxin | Indirect Additives Used in Food Contact Substances | PESTICIDE active ingredient | Inert Pesticide Ingredient USA - Food Use Permitted | Pesticide approved in USA (California) | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Inorganic Compounds | Mixed Metal/Non-metal Compounds | Transition Metal Oxoanionic Compounds | Transition Metal Nitrates | Transition Metal Nitrites
  • SYNONYMS: AgNO3 | Alcoholic silver nitrate | Argenti nitras | Argerol | Caswell No. 737 | Lunar caustic | Nitric acid silver salt | Nitric acid silver(1+) salt | Silver mononitrate | Silver nitrate (JP15/USP) | Silver nitrate on silica gel | Silver nitrate(dot) | Silver nitrate | alcoholic | Silver Nitrate | Silver (2+) Salt (2:1) | Silver nitric acid | Silver saltpeter | Silver(1+) nitrate | Silver(I) nitrate (1:1)
  • DESCRIPTION: Silver nitrate is a nitrate of silver. It is a versatile precursor to many other silver compounds, such as those used in photography, and is commonly used in inorganic chemistry to abstract halides. Silver nitrate is also used in organic synthesis and for silver staining of proteins and nucleic acids, such as in PAGE gels and scanning electron microscopy. Silver is a metallic element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. It occurs naturally in its pure, free form, as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Nitrite is a toxic compound known to cause methemoglobinemia. (L1137, L808, L809, L823)
  • COMMENTS:

    From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia:

    May intensify fire; oxidiser. Causes severe skin burns and eye damage. Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects | Environmental Hazard | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)

    Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.

    The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: AgNO3
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: T3DB | PubChem | FDA Indirect Food Additives | DPR | EPA USA - Pesticide Inerts | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 28/04/2018

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: Exposure to high levels of silver for a long period of time may result in a condition called arygria, a blue-gray discoloration of the skin and other body tissues. Argyria is a permanent effect but does not appear to be harmful to health. Exposure to high levels of silver in the air has resulted in breathing problems, lung and throat irritation, and stomach pains. Skin contact with silver can cause mild allergic reactions such as rash, swelling, and inflammation in some people. Nitrate and nitrite poisoning causes methemoglobinemia. Symptoms include cyanosis, cardiac dysrhythmias and circulatory failure, and progressive central nervous system (CNS) effects. CNS effects can range from mild dizziness and lethargy to coma and convulsions. (L1137, L808)
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Exposure to high levels of silver for a long period of time may result in a condition called arygria, a blue-gray discoloration of the skin and other body tissues. Argyria is a permanent effect but does not appear to be harmful to health. While silver itself is not toxic, most silver salts are, and may damage the liver, kidney, and central nervous system, as well as be carcinogenic. Nitrate and nitrite poisoning causes methemoglobinemia. Nitrites may cause pregnancy complications and developmental effects. They may also be carcinogenic. (L1137, L808, L809, L810) | Silver and its compounds can be absorbed via inhalation, while silver compounds can also be absorbed orally and dermally. It distributes throughout the body in the blood, particularily to the liver. Insoluble silver salts are transformed into soluble silver sulfide albuminates, bind to amino or carboxyl groups in RNA, DNA, and proteins, or are reduced to metallic silver by ascorbic acid or catecholamines. Metallic silver is oxidized and may deposit in the tissues, causing arygria. Silver is eliminated primarily in the faeces. Intake of some amount of nitrates and nitrites is a normal part of the nitrogen cycle in humans. In vivo conversion of nitrates to nitrites can occur in the gastrointestional tract under the right conditions, significantly enhancing nitrates' toxic potency. The major metabolic pathway for nitrate is conversion to nitrite, and then to ammonia. Nitrites, nitrates, and their metabolites are excreted in the urine. (L1137, L808)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Metallic silver is oxidized and may deposit in the tissues, causing arygria. The silver ion is known to inhibit glutathione peroxidase and NA+,K+-ATPase activity, disrupting selenium-catalyzed sulfhydryl oxidation-reduction reactions and intracellular ion concentrations, respectively. Silver nanoparticles are believed to disrupt the mitochondrial respiratory chain, causing oxidative stress, reduced ATP synthesis, and DNA damage. Nitrate's toxicity is a result of it's conversion to nitrite once in the body. Nitrite causes the autocatalytic oxidation of oxyhemoglobin to hydrogen peroxide and methemoglobin. This elevation of methemoglobin levels is a condition known as methemoglobinemia, and is characterized by tissue hypoxia, as methemoglobin cannot bind oxygen. (A2450, L1613, L808, A243, A244, A245, A246) | The silver ion is known to inhibit glutathione peroxidase activity, disrupting selenium-catalyzed sulfhydryl oxidation-reduction reactions. (A246)
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Cytoplasm", "Extracellular"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: Silver nitrate is a versatile precursor to many other silver compounds, such as those used in photography, and is commonly used in inorganic chemistry to abstract halides. Silver nitrate is also used in organic synthesis and for silver staining of proteins and nucleic acids, such as in PAGE gels and scanning electron microscopy. (L823)

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  Exposure Routes

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