Silver is the metallic element with the atomic number 47. Its symbol is Ag. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it possesses the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal. The metal occurs naturally in its pure, free form (native silver), as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite.
Silver plays no known natural biological role in humans, and possible health effects of silver are a disputed subject. Silver itself is not toxic to humans, but most silver salts are. In large doses, silver and compounds containing it can be absorbed into the circulatory system and become deposited in various body tissues, leading to argyria, which results in a blue-grayish pigmentation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Argyria is rare, and although, so far as known, this condition does not otherwise harm a person's health, it is disfiguring and usually permanent.
People can be exposed to silver in the workplace by breathing it in, swallowing it, skin contact, and eye contact.