Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of surface coating on the toxicity of silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) soil. Earthworms (Eisenia fetida) were exposed to AgNO(3) and Ag NPs with similar size ranges coated with either polyvinylpyrrolidone (hydrophilic) or oleic acid (amphiphilic) during a standard sub-chronic reproduction toxicity test. No significant effects on growth or mortality were observed within any of the test treatments. Significant decreases in reproduction were seen in earthworms exposed to AgNO3, (94.21 mg kg(-1)) as well as earthworms exposed to Ag NPs with either coating (727.6 mg kg(-1) for oleic acid and 773.3 mg kg(-1) for polyvinylpyrrolidone). The concentrations of Ag NPs at which effects were observed are much higher than predicted concentrations of Ag NPs in sewage sludge amended soils; however, the concentrations at which adverse effects of AgNO(3) were observed are similar to the highest concentrations of Ag presently observed in sewage sludge in the United States. Earthworms accumulated Ag in a concentration-dependent manner from all Ag sources, with more Ag accumulating in tissues from AgNO(3) compared to earthworms exposed to equivalent concentrations of Ag NPs. No differences were observed in Ag accumulation or toxicity between earthworms exposed to Ag NPs with polyvinylpyrrolidone or oleic acid coatings.