This work is a compilation on the subject of Argyria by Terry Chamberlin. Terry is a researcher in Canada.
"The Final Word on Silver Toxicity
Quoting from Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D.
"...you should be advised that we recently completed an extensive review of the scientific literature on the safety of silver, especially as it relates to its one known potential side effect, namely, Argyria. Argyia is an irreversible discoloration of the pigment
(skin) caused by excessive silver intake or chronic exposure to silver by certain tissues. The amount of silver required to develop Argyria is estimated [by the EPA] to be 3.8 grams per day. By comparison standard 10 ppm colloidal silver contains silver in amounts equaling less than 1 milligram of silver
(1,000 micrograms = 1 milligram; 1,000 milligrams - 1 gram), which therefore represents an amount approximately 1/500th to 1/1000th of the amount of silver considered to be a risk in the development of Argyria.
"Most cases of Argyria reported in the medical literature over the last 100 years involved chronic intravenous or intramuscular use of the silver preparations, most often involving a silver drug prescribed by physicians which in most cases contained silver nitrate. Other cases of Argyria reported in the medical literature involve application of silver preparations used for many months or years in the treatment of the eye or vagina for certain diseases. We could not locate a single case of orally consumed colloidal silver manufactured in the last 25 years causing Argyria in our review of the literature. This is probably due to the low levels of silver contained in such preparations, since only very small amounts of silver are needed for its antiseptic effect.
"Humans consume approximately 100 micrograms of silver every day in the diet. Additional amounts within this range would be considered safe by all reasonable estimates, especially if the amount needed to develop Argyria would be the equivalent of 380,000 micrograms
(or 3.8 grams) of silver a day.
"As for the efficacy of silver preparations, we found considerable scientific evidence published over the last 75 years that a number of silver compounds can be effective germicidal (antiseptic) agents against several hundred pathogenic organisms. However, silver is not termed an antibiotic as some have claimed because an antibiotic by definition is derived from a living organism.
Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D. Director, Life Sciences Division John Hopkins University [End of quote]
Dr. Alexander Schauss, Ph.D.
Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D., is the Director of the Life Sciences Division of the American Institute for Biosocial Research, Inc. in Tacoma, WA. He is a member of the Government's Commission on Dietary Supplements. He holds joint faculty positions as Associate Professor of Research and Senior Director of Research and Development at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, in Tempe, AZ. And, as Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, OR.
Dr. Schauss is an Emeritus Member of the New York Academy of Sciences, former Chairman of the Food Policy Council of the National Council for Public Health Policy, Founding Member of the British Society of Nutritional Medicine, Emeritus Executive Director of the American Preventive Medical Association, Emeritus Executive Director and current President of Citizens for Health, and a member of the American Public Health Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The only negative effect reported by CS users is a phenomenon called the "Herxheimer effect", named after doctor Karl Herxheimer (who identified this phenomenon). Sometimes, when a person starts off for the first time ingesting a large amount of CS, the CS is so efficient at killing pathogens in the body that the body cannot adequately dispose of the dead pathogens through the normal eliminative organs, and it resorts to the secondary ones, the lungs, sinuses and skin. Or the CS user may experience diarrhea, as the body tries to flush itself out. In that case, one merely needs to reduce or temporarily stop the CS until the healing crisis is over, and then start taking smaller amounts of CS. A new European Union Drinking Water Standard in draft form has removed any limitations on silver in drinking water following the World Health Organization's "Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality" which states, "It is unnecessary to recommend any health-based guidelines for silver as it is not hazardous to human health." According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Poison Control Center, CS is considered harmless. Dr. Samuel Etris, a senior consultant at the Silver Institute, says there has never been any allergenic, toxic or carcinogenic reactions to CS. The U.S. Government's Center for Disease Control confirmed that fact in
The term Argyria describes the condition of a bluish gray color of the skin, and Argyosis the bluing of the eye white, resulting from the use of SILVER COMPOUNDS. To better understand the misconception regarding Argyria, I will quote from the book "The Micro Silver Bullet"T by Dr. M. Paul Farber 1996 page XII (ISBN
1-887742-00-X) In reference to a "Journal of American Medical Association" article, October 18 1995, volume
274 # 15, where cases of Argyria were cited to have been caused by silver compounds (not colloidal silver, but silver mixed with other metals), note:
"These Case history presentations represent biased and unprofessional writing. The author's apparent inability to understand the difference between a silver nitrate, sulfide, or other silver compound demonstrates their lack of understanding of basic chemical properties. The matrix, substrate, and particle size are all critical to the varied functions and reactions with use of these products. That is why there has not been a single case of Argyria from a properly manufactured modern-day colloidal silver product. [editors emphasis] The cases of Argyria reported in the 1920's and 1930's resulted because the technology of the day was unable to produce a pure colloidal silver product with a small enough particle size." Ref. (4-A)
The reported cases of Argyria usually involved very high and frequent doses over extended periods of time of silver salts/compounds such as silver sulfate, silver nitrate, silver chloride, etc.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Poison Control Center reports no toxicity listing for Colloidal Silver; it is therefore considered harmless in any concentration. However all of the silver salts are identified as toxic, although the only adverse effect noted is Argyria. Therefore the concern is with silver salts not Colloidal Silver.
Dr John Hill D.C. in his book "Colloidal Silver, A Literature Review" states this:
"Critics of colloidal silver sometimes state that it has been known to cause organ damage, kidney damage, pulmonary edema, atherosclerosis and death.
"These claims appear to be based on a research study on dogs in which the dogs were deliberately killed by extremely large lethal doses of silver. At the doses given, any heavy metal and probably many essential minerals like zinc, iron, copper, etc. would have produced death in similar fashion."
And again "We know that dogs died from injections of a type of protein-bound silver in dosages ranging from
500 mg to 1.9 grams of silver depending on the frequency of administration. This was equivalent in silver content to giving [per day] a 150 pound adult between 150 litres and 570 litres of 10 ppm colloidal silver, or between 75 and 285 liters of 20 ppm colloidal silver or between 50 and 190 litres of 30 ppm colloidal silver. The 10 gram estimated lethal dose for humans from Goodman and Gillman is equivalent to 1000 liters of 10 ppm colloidal silver." In another case an individual ingested an estimated 124 grams of silver nitrate over a 9-year period. She developed argyria and an assortment of neurological symptoms as well... This report is often used by critics to attribute neurological disorders to silver consumption. They curiously fail to put in perspective the gross difference between the quantities of silver involved."
He also reports: "The EPA publishes a reference dose (Rfd) for silver which is an estimate of daily exposure to the entire population that is unlikely to be associated with a significant risk of adverse effects over a lifetime. The current Rfd for oral silver exposure is 5 micrograms/kg/day with a critical dose estimated at 14 micrograms/kg/day... Based on this Rfd, a 150 pound adult should not exceed 350 micrograms/day."
Argyria is caused by the same mechanism that is used when developing photographs. It is the same thing. If you start with a salt of silver, and expose it to light, some of it will reduce to silver metal. Then if you have a developer (caffeine is a good developer) in an alkaline solution (blood is normally alkaline), additional silver will plate out from the compound onto the metallic particles, making them grow. That is the photographic process, and that is how one gets argyria.
Now, the process requires silver salts. There are no substitutes. Colloidal silver contains no silver salts. Basically silver salts are what are in unexposed film. Silver colloid is what is in a developed photograph. If you put a developed photo into the sun what does it do. It fades, it doesn't turn darker. That is because a developed photo has no silver salts to add to the silver particles since it is already nothing but reduced silver particles.
Thus colloidal silver cannot cause argyria. Theoretically I guess one could take CS with sufficient ppm and in sufficient quantity to cause aggregation, but one would likely drown from too much water first, as the amounts would be truly phenomenal.
In years of poring over hardcopy of obscure medical cases no one has yet found a single report of any adverse reaction to very fine particles of very fine silver floating in very pure water.
The following two letters to and from the FDA are most informative:
October 14th, 1999 Food and Drug Administration U.S. Department Of Health and Human Services Public Health Service
5600 Fishers Lane Rockville, MD 20857
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and in regard your August 17th, 1999 ruling regarding colloidal silver, could you please supply the following documentation on which you based your decision?
1. The number of deaths related to the consumption of colloidal silver.
2. The number of allergic reactions to the consumption of colloidal silver.
3. The number of harmful drug interactions from both OTC and prescription drugs when combined with colloidal silver.
4. The number of reported cases of Argyria from colloidal silver made with the AC or DC electrical process.
5. The number of cases of Argyria from colloidal silver that did not contain protein stabilizers.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this request.
Sincerely, Brent Finnegan
The FDA response:
Public Health Service Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Office of Training and Communication Freedom of Information Staff HFD-205
5600 Fishers Lane 12 B 05 Rockville, Maryland 20857 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
November 3, 1999
In Response Refer to File: F99-22589 Brent Finnigan Takoma (sic), WA 98408
Dear Mr. Finnigan:
This is in response to your request of 10/14/99, in which you requested adverse events associated with the use of Colloidal Silver. Your request was received in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research on
We have searched the records from FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) and have been unable to locate any cases that would be responsive to your request.
Charges of $3.50 (Search $3.50, Review $0, Reproduction $0, Computer time $0) will be included in a monthly invoice. DO NOT SEND ANY PAYMENT UNTIL YOU RECEIVE AN INVOICE.
If there are any problems with this response, please notify us in writing of your specific problem(s).
Please reference the above file number.
Hal Stepper Freedom of Information Technician Office of Training and Communications Freedom of Information Staff, HFD-205
Concerning the rumours of renal failure or liver damage from Colloidal Silver, I finally tracked down a source.
The remarks therein to renal damage (not failure) is part of an unreferenced quote supposedly from two doctors named Man C. Fung, MD, and Michael Weintraub, MD "....While silver deposits derive from dietary
(e.g., mushrooms, milk, and bran), environmental or industrial exposure, the indiscriminate use of CSP's [silver proteins] and other silver medicinals adds unnecessary exposure and may result in argyria. Although primarily a cosmetic concern, argyria is irreversible and has no effective treatment. In addition, neurological deficits and diffuse silver deposition in visceral organs have been reported with long-term use of oral silver products. Renal damage and metal fume fever have been reported with high silver exposures....."
There is no listing, however, of this article in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) article title, or anything else - not even the year.
You will notice, in this quote, the references to CSP's, silver medicinals, silver products - none of them pure Colloidal Silver. I have emphasized those terms to draw your attention to them. The very conservative estimate of 3.8 grams/day of silver needed to be a danger of any kind is an amount physiologically impossible for a human being to ingest in 10-20 ppm Colloidal Silver. (Could you drink 9-18 gallons of water each day?)
In conclusion, although I and quite a few others - doctors, scientists and various researchers - have diligently searched all available medical records, and as you saw previously in this article, even asked the FDA, no one to date has discovered a single medical report of anyone being hurt in any way from any amount of electro-colloidal silver (silver particles electrically disbursed in distilled or deionized water). There are numerous reports of various consequences from ingesting or topically applying very large quantities of silver salts, silver compounds and silver proteins. There are even cases of people suffering from ingestion and exposure to huge amounts
(10-100+ grams) of silver, such as the "Blue-blood" royalty who regularly ingested large amounts of mechanically ground-up silver powder. But there is more reason and evidence to be cautious of ingesting virtually every vitamin or mineral our bodies require than there is to be cautious of Colloidal Silver.
[End of article]
My comments: I have heard of a number of negative reports from both medical and Naturopathic doctors, yet none of them can substantiate any of these reports. Silver salts and compounds, yes. Colloidal silver, no.
I personally have drunk 12-16 oz/day each day for the last six years. I am not blue, and I rarely get sick.