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Fun on Friday: Silver Is Hazardous Waste?

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I learned something today. Did you know silver is considered a hazardous waste?

So, I’m just going to say upfront that if you have some silver to dispose of, I’ll be happy to take it off your hands.

But seriously, according to the EPA, silver is categorized as biohazardous waste and must be disposed of through a licensed silver reclamation service.

Now, not to be cynical, but this sounds like a racket.

Now, obviously, we’re not just talking about a silver bar here. You don’t have to worry about picking one up and poisoning yourself. If this is a concern for you, again, I’ll be happy to take the silver off your hands.

The problem comes from consuming too much silver. So, boys and girls, don’t eat your silver.

You’re welcome.

Silver waste primarily comes from its medical applications. Specifically, silver is used in the process to develop x-rays. I kind of get why you wouldn’t want to just dump medical waste out the back door. But I feel like this Biomedical Waste Service might be overstating the danger.

Small, nearly undetectable traces of silver can be found in our food and water, but consumption of this doesn’t necessarily lead to any kind of health complication. However, if the human body happens to consume more than it is used to, it can cause a skin condition called argyria. Otherwise known as silver poisoning, it can leave skin turning grey or blue. Thankfully, it is a cosmetic issue and does not risk livelihood.

So, basically, the danger is that you’ll end up looking like a Smurf.

But that was enough for the EPA to jump in and “protect us.” And by “protect us,” I mean create a nice little stream of business for biomedical waste companies.

I have no idea, but I wonder if these “waste” companies recycle the silver. I mean, it seems dumb to just dispose of a valuable metal. And how do you dispose of it anyway? It’s not like you can burn it up. Heat silver as much as you want, when it’s all said and done, you still have silver.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more certain I am that these companies are making money on both sides of the equation. They are charging the medical facility to pick up the
hazardous silver and then they are reclaiming it and selling it to somebody else.

Nice work if you can get it.

While we’re on the subject of silver, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to keep some around rather than throw it away. Out fully revised and updated The Powerful Case for Silver report covers the fundamentals of the silver market and explains why investors should be bullish on silver in the long term. You can download the report free.

Don’t worry. It won’t be hazardous to your health!

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. I dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The opinions expressed are my own. They are 100% correct – but not necessarily shared by anybody else here – including Peter Schiff. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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