Risk without benefit? Quackwatch, Aug 2005
Many people will be amazed or shocked when you say you take colloidal silver. This is not surprising. Its relatively new, its unknown, and it certainly sounds strange. Some people will immediately search for "colloidal silver safety" in Google or Yahoo and come back to you with one disparaging article or another.
Positive references about CS outnumber the negatives by about a thousand to one, but they tend to be buried in sites such as colloidal silver 'users groups' that usually don't appear in a Google search.
So unfortunately the 'Quackwatch' article 'RISK WITHOUT BENEFIT' is the first result many people see when they do a Google or Yahoo search on colloidal silver. Its easy to scare people and grab a 'hit' by throwing a few alarming words like RISK into a title. Sadly its the sort of headline that will send many people into a state of panic.
Many people read the title but few people critically read the whole article. It contains outdated information, a famous but discredited argyria case that is over 50 years old, factual errors, and misleading statements. It deliberately confuses colloidal silver with silver compounds, and is padded with numerous references that sound impressive but have nothing to do with silver safety. Most of the article is about exaggerated advertising claims made by early marketers of bottled colloidal silver - an undesirable situation for sure, but hardly life-threatening or 'risky'. (Some of this advertising is nearly 30 years old). It ignores silver's long history of safe and effective medical use, and takes no notice of the numerous credible laboratory tests that prove colloidal silver kills bacteria. The mountain of positive testimonials from everyday users of colloidal silver is never acknowledged and CS users around the world are simply dismissed as victims of a scam.
The argyria references are attention grabbing but they are vague and represent the most extreme examples of the abuse of very poorly made silver products. A little research soon reveals that these products are very different to the good quality, clear colloidal silver that can now easily be made at home. In summary, if this distorted mish-mash is the best argument Quackwatch can muster then there is little to worry about.
Quackwatch is funded by 'donations' and advertising commissions. We might conclude then that the main motivation for continuing to present such an unbalanced and deceptive article (that has not been updated in 13 years) is simply that it is virtually guaranteed to attract maximum 'hits' and so maintain Quackwatch's prized number 1 position on Google and Yahoo searches. So perhaps it's the web surfers, seeking honest information, who are really the ones being scammed ...by Stephen Barrett. It's also worth noting that even on Quackwatch's own extensive 'Cheers' page there are no letters of support for Stephen Barrett's comments about colloidal silver.
Most other anti-CS stories, written by people who have no personal experience using CS, just re-cycle the same misleading information.
Other searches might reveal scary titles such as 'A REPORT INTO SILVER TOXICITY IN DRINKING WATER' which upon further reading (which hardly anyone does) will actually reveal that silver is NOT a problem.
To put it in perspective try doing a Google search on the dangers of: Coca Cola, Aspirin, Distilled water, Vitamin B,C,D,E, Iron, Zinc, any approved drug, Bread, Milk, Sunscreen, etc, etc, etc.
It's probably harder to hurt yourself with CS than with any other mineral or vitamin.
All silver toxicity tests suggest that only maximum ignorance, carelessness, and persistence could achieve a negative outcome, and even then these tests were carried out with repeated high doses of silver compounds which, compared to CS, is like comparing sulphuric acid to watered down orange juice.
The slightest bit of research on a site like this or an independant site such as 'silvermedicine.org' will soon reveal how to avoid problems and make CS that is safe and effective.
Unfortunately the CS argyria fear is unwittingly perpetuated by CS bottlers who recommend that you only drink a 'teaspoon' of their product.
The true test is simply this. If colloidal silver really does cause argyria so easily, where are all the blue people hiding? Hundreds of thousands of people take colloidal silver, but argyria stories are very rare. Why aren't they regularly popping up on '60 Minutes' or 'A Current Affair'? Why aren't they featured in magazines and newspapers? Why isn't the web full of 'first hand' stories from colloidal silver victims?
The internet is the greatest tool ever devised for individuals to easily air their personal grievances, yet a world wide search reveals very few cases of persons complaining that colloidal silver caused their argyria. And one of those cases (Rosemary Jacobs) has been exposed as highly improbable because her symptoms developed over 50 years ago (before electrolytic colloidal silver was even available) and she admits she never drank colloidal silver in her life! She took silver nitrate nose drops, perhaps daily, for at least 3 years.
Another person openly named as an argyria victim, US Senate Candidate Stan Jones, never complained about colloidal silver causing his mild case of argyria. His complaint was that the media had exaggerated the story and 'doctored' the photos. He admitted he had foolishly made his colloidal silver using a solution of tap water and salt. And he had 'brewed' it until it looked like ink. In spite of the embarrassing attention, he said he would re-commence taking colloidal silver, but now he would make it the correct way.
UPDATE. The argyria case of Paul Karosan recently received a lot of media attention. Mr Karosan has been drinking colloidal silver for about 14 years. Details are sketchy but he has admitted that for that entire period he has been making colloidal silver with salt or baking soda added to the batch - with no way of determining the concentration of the mix.
(The chances of developing argyria from drinking good clear quality colloidal silver are slim. As far as we know it has never happened. But if it still worries you, it's believed the risk can be reduced even further by ensuring an adequate dietary intake of selenium and Vitamin E. Selenium is an antioxidant trace mineral that is essential for good health. Brazil nuts are very high in selenium so 1 nut a day should be more than adequate. (Don't over do it). For more about the importance of selenium see this fact sheet at the US Office of Dietary Supplements. Selenium.)
TGA Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin (Oct 2007) "Dangers of CS ingestion"
This bulletin released in Oct 07 reports on argyria caused by ingesting colloidal silver. Compared to other warnings in the Bulletin it's pretty vague. There's no indication of the severity of the argyria and there is no explanation of how the offending CS was made. I don't expect the TGA to gather these details but I'd love to know what type of water was used, what voltage was used, how strong the CS was, how long it was 'brewed', what color it was, how much was consumed, etc. But ultimately I have little doubt the offending CS was more of the grey junk described in the section above. As far as I can determine there are still no cases in the world of argyria being caused by drinking clear colloidal silver made electrolytically with pure (distilled or demineralised) water.
Of more concern is the claim in the same bulletin that colloidal silver caused (in an elderly man) "debilitating fatigue, dilated cardiomyopathy, amnesia and incoherent speech". I asked the TGA on 3 occasions (10 years ago) to provide a reference for colloidal silver being able to cause these symptoms. They couldn't provide one. Following my enquiries they added an additional reference to the bulletin (ref 4) but this just turned out to be another reference to argyria ALTHOUGH THEY CREATE THE IMPRESSION THAT ITS A REFERENCE SUPPORTING THE STATEMENT THAT CS CAN CAUSE "eripheral neuropathies, seizures, and haematological, cardiac, hepatic and nephrotoxic derangements". IT ISN'T! Reference 4 doesn't support that statement at all. (Neither does Reference 3). I think this is somewhat misleading by the TGA
Anyway, it appears the doctor who made the above diagnosis on the elderly man has done so WITHOUT THERE BEING ANY MEDICAL OR SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT COLLOIDAL SILVER CAN EVEN CAUSE SUCH A THING. So the diagnosis is something of a 'world first' and highly questionable, but it's typical of the double standards that surround colloidal silver. No amount of anecdotal evidence is ever good enough, yet the flimsiest evidence from 'medical sources' gets immediate acceptance. It's quite possible (maybe 'probable') that these symptoms were simply CONCURRENT with the fact that this elderly, ill man was taking colloidal silver. One has to wonder what symptoms were already present that inspired the man to take colloidal silver in the first place.