Argyria & Possible Cure
This document explores the condition of cosmetic argyria and its relationship to colloidal silver use, explaining the different levels of risk for argyria due to product type, quality, concentration, and the total amount of silver ingested via long term use of products. The argyria cases of Stan Jones, Rosemary Jacobs, and Paul Karason are explored, as well as the many myths and misunderstandings commonly perpetuated in the "silver medicine" world concerning argyria. Furthermore, we are pleased to introduce the first two documented cases of argyria cured. The protocol used to cure argyria may be found in our user's forum. The second confirmed case of argyria cured is posted in a second thread in our silver saftey and toxicity forum.
Paul Karason - Cosmetic Argyria
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Since we began our project nearly ten years ago, we have been adamant about the purity principle in colloidal silver production. The ideal silver solution ( or "EIS - electrically Isolated silver" ) should consist of positively charged silver ions and minute, negatively charged silver particles ( or clusters of particles with a zeta potential ), properly isolated by molecules of pure water -- and nothing else! Home brew products containing more than roughtly 13 PPM violate this 'principle', as well as all products that are actually highly concentrated compounds, such as all silver salts and silver acids.
The primary consideration when evaluating risk associated with silver use is the actual amount of silver being ingested -- i.e. the concentration of silver and amount consumed. The second consideration is the type of product being used. The third consideration is the frequency of use. These issues will be discussed in detail below, based on all of the data currently available, both from a historic standpoint ( studies based on all of the 'old school' silver compound products, done by the EPA, WHO, etc. ) and using updated, recent reported cases of argyria.
Products that contain highly concentrated silver compounds need to be used very differently than EIS products to avoid argyria. Such products sometimes, but not always, have adequate instructions for use, which many people promptly ignore. Argyria is a condition resulting from the build-up of silver in the tissues of the body, and cosmetic argyria is a bronzing, bluing or graying of the skin, predominantly caused by silver deposited into the layers of skin. Cosmetic argyria can occur anywhere on the body, but it is a condition most commonly observed on the face and in the fingernails. While this is a condition with no actual health consequence, it can easily be avoided with proper education.
During the past four years, we have corresponded with two individuals who acquired cosmetic argyria from utilizing Water OZ ( a high potency silver solution stabilized by the creation of silver citrate ). We have knowledge of at least three cases of argyria that resulted from the use of mild silver protein ( MSP ), and two cases of argyria ( one very mild ) caused from long term use of poorly made, high concentration silver chloride with agglomerated silver particles from those utilizing salts or saline solution, tap water, or other impure water sources for the creation of home-brewed colloidal silver. We have confirmed one case of argyria from improperly made EIS, and have heard two other reports of individuals acquiring argyria from the overuse of EIS ( we have not been able to confirm the exact production method with these other two reports ).
What is Argyria?
Following is an excellent concise clinical definition of argyria, quoted from The Internet Journal of Dermatology, 2002, Volume 1 Number 2. We greatly encourage those interested to read the complete article, by Joshua B Glenn and and Anna N. Walker, MD, Department of Pathology, Mercer University School of Medicine, Copyright Internet Scientific Publications, LLC, 1996 to 2002:
"Clinically, argyria occurs when silver is deposited in its elemental, sulfide, or selenide form. Microscopically, silver granules are generally extracellular. They appear as irregular aggregates concentrated in the basal lamina of dermal sweat glands, and in association with the adventitia of hair follicles, sebaceous glands, capillaries, and nerves. Melanin is increased in the overlying basal cell layer suggesting that silver may promote its production. The combination of silver granules and the increased production of melanin accounts for the slate-blue discoloration of the skin..."
"...The therapeutic use of silver dates to 1647 when it was prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy. Syphilis was treated with silver arsepenamine in the early 20th century and cold remedies contained colloidal silver proteins until the mid-20th century.  In 1939, Hill and Pillsbury documented 239 cases of argyria, most of which were due to oral or nasal application of silver nitrate."
The term argyria, derived from the latin word "argentum", was coined by a German physician in 1816: Dr. Johann Abraham Albers.
Argyria and Stan Jones - The Blue Montana Senator Candidate with Argyria
The Stan Jones argyria case has recently received an enormous amount of press coverage. Stan Jones is a charming and very mild tempered politician from Montana, who acquired the condition of argyria by consuming extremely high quantities of a very poorly made colloidal silver.
What the AP Press release doesn't tell the general public, is that Stan brewed his home-made colloidal silver by using tap water and salt with a battery colloidal silver generator, and let his generator run for an hour, which not only produced an abundance of silver chloride, but also produced larger particles of silver due to agglomeration caused by a runaway electrolysis reaction. He drank eight ounces or more of this product containing an extremely high concentration of silver daily for at least two years.
If Stan Jones made a mistake, it was trusting someone who claimed ( as many colloidal silver generator manufacturers / colloid marketing companies do ) to be knowledgeable about colloidal silver safety and production. Stan still recommends a silver product that contains 100 PPM of silver; yet another silver compound that will also cause argyria if over-used regularly over a long period of time.
EIS - Electrically Isolated Silver and Argyria
Using EIS at low concentrations presents the least amount of risk for argyria. Of the three reported cases of argyria with EIS, two were very likely to have been produced using very low quality methods. One individual reported ingesting a 40-45 PPM isolated silver product, which is not possible, since the threshold for a "solution" to hold both oligodynamic "colloidal" silver particles and silver hydroxide ions is nowhere near 45 PPM. We do not have enough information on the third reported case to comment on the quality of the product.
Paul Karason began using silver 14 years ago ( in ~ 1992 - 1993 ). At this time, the production method used to properly make EIS ( Electrically Isolated Silver ) was not known. One of the first appearances of material outlining the reasons for limiting the current in "colloidal silver" production was written by Peter A. Lindemann in 1997. However, even after publication of his article, most individuals still used a conductive primer such as salt ( or in some cases, baking soda ) to make their product, which always results in deposing too much silver, in the form of compounds and/or agglomerated particles, into the end solution. Paul is no exception, and according to an interview, Paul admitted that when he first began to make colloidal silver, he used a primer to "improve the conductivity of the water" used to make his CS.
Paul's colloidal silver, like many made in that period, most likely contained between 100 PPM and several thousands of PPM of silver content. Ingesting large amounts of silver in single doses is the fastest way to contract argyria.
Argyria Facts and Fallacies
It is unwise to trust -- offhand -- what colloidal silver marketing companies have to say about the condition of argyria. Some companies truly believe that their high potency, high PPM silver compound products do not cause argyria, because so many people have been using them for years with no occurrence of argyria. Some simply outright lie, or modify the truth, claiming their products do not cause argyria because they are labeled for low quantity use. This practice is very common amidst those who sell mild silver protein and silver salts.
It is also unwise to trust the modern medical profession concerning silver and argyria. The fact is, very few modern MD's have any experience with this condition, and their knowledge is often limited to a very shallow cursory review of the subject matter. A cursory review of the medical cases of argyria due to silver consumption is not favorable without carefully studying the available data and placing all clinical evidence in proper perspective. This cannot be done in a few minutes or even a few hours without having all of the data pre-collected, nor without having a good deal of knowledge about the differences between all of the silver medicinal products marketed both in the past and in today's market.
However, the truth of the matter is that not everyone is at equal risk for argyria ( see our section which includes the EPA RISK studies ), and not all products can be assessed in the same manner. There are multiple factors associated with the risk for argyria, some of which have not been identified. This is likely the primary reason why different scientists who have studied argyria have come up with very different conclusions.
As an example, the EPA RISK studies document clinical evidence demonstrating that a selenium deficiency increases the risk of argyria, and an over-abundance of selenium in the body may increase the silver deposited in non-critical internal tissues ( the silver buildup in the latter case does not enduce a toxic reaction to silver, however, increased levels of silver were measured in some organs ). The body utilizes selenium to help eliminate silver from the body: Silver bonds with selenium. When the body is depleted of selenium, the amount of silver deposited into tissues is drastically increased. This was conclusively demonstrated by a researcher known as Petering in the 1970's.
High concentrations of silver taken over a prolonged period of time can cause the body to deplete its supply of selenium, thereby dramatically increasing the risk for argyria -- or should we say lowering the body's threshold for total amount of silver ingested required to be at risk for argyria. Delivery of high concentrations of silver into membranes ( such as mucus membranes in the sinus cavities ) can result in the rapid onset of Argyria when used daily, such as silver nitrate used to treat sinus infections -- but it doesn't always do so! To contrast, a properly made isolated silver at between 5 PPM and 20 PPM has been widely used for sinus treatments with not one case of any type of silver toxicity, and at volumes measured in ounces, not drops.
Therefore, it is quite possible, and even quite likely according to available research, that an individual can use 2 ounces of 10 PPM silver daily for fifty years and not incur any risk for argyria, and yet the same individual with a predisposition to the condition could take two ounces of a high PPM product, or eight ounces of an extremely poorly made product, and develop argyria in a few short years, when the product is used daily.
In fact, there are literally thousands of individuals who have been taking a properly made, quality silver daily from five to fifteen years with no side effects whatsoever, some of which have been ingesting 8 to 16 ounces daily. Those who utilize the right kind of isolated silver with moderation and when needed will have no associated risk of argyria. This is an established fact based on scientific studies on the body's tolerance for silver, and how much silver must be ingested in order to reach the determined threshold level for the risk of argyria.
However, it should be noted that those who utilize large amounts of even the right kind of colloidal silver, drinking 8 ounces to a liter of colloidal silver daily for years on end, are working in the unknown, as there is no evidence to suggest that a low concentration colloidal silver will build up in tissues, and there is no evidence suggesting that it cannot. Individuals who ( in many cases very wisely ) elect to treat chronic conditions with daily, long term use should consider developing a whole food natural supplement program to help reduce the risk of argyria.
The truth of the matter: A vast amount of solid research has been done concerning silver toxicity, but all the data acquired was utilizing extremely large doses of silver compounds over short periods of time. While opinions are varied, and there is general consensus that even large amounts of low PPM, properly made colloidal silver will not cause argyria, these are beliefs founded in reason and based on limited anecdotal evidence, and not established scientific fact.
Fallacy: Silver particles cannot cause argyria, only ionic silver or ionic silver compounds can.
Fact: As Assistant Professor Kamila K Padlewska, MD notes, "The most common cause of argyria is mechanical impregnation of the skin by small silver particles in workers involved in silver mining, silver refining, silverware and metal alloy manufacturing." Do NOT believe those who claim that silver particles cannot cause Argyria. Dr. Padlewska notes that the smallest amount of silver ingestion resulting in Argyria is between 4 and 40 grams, although the EPA risk studies quote a range from 3 to 6 grams. Many cases exist in the literature documenting argyria resulting from metallic silver over-exposure. Silver salts and silver proteins have received most of the attention primarily because of medicinal usage and experimentation in silver toxicity.
Fallacy: ENVIA corporation states that ENVIA colloidal silver has no silver particles, and thus their product cannot cause argyria.
Fact: ENVIA corporation markets a high PPM silver compound, and we have corresponded with one dedicated user who has acquired argyria via ENVIA colloidal silver use.
Fact: There has yet to be one single case of argyria attributed to the use of isolated colloidal silver, with a PPM Silver ranging between 5 - 20, regardless of the quantity and frequency ingested. Every reported case of argyria that we have found was eventually traced back to a silver salt, silver protein, or other poorly made, compound-rich product. Correction: The first case of argyria from electrically isolated silver has been reported and verified. 6 ounces of correctly made electrically isolated silver ( unknown PPM ), ingested daily for 3 years, caused a pronounced case of argyria, primarily visible on the throat area. Two other cases have been reported but not verified.
Fallacy: Colloidal silver made with salt is completely safe because Dr. Robert O. Becker says that silver chloride is inert and thus harmless, and the EPA has demonstrated that silver chloride is 30 times less toxic than silver nitrate. ( Mark Metcalf is likely ultimately responsible for two cases of Argyria that we are aware of from heeding this misplaced advice ). Mark Metcalf once published that using a salt-produced colloidal silver could never cause argyria. Now he says that it can, but only in individuals who have a "severe selenium deficiency".
Fact: It is the production process of using salt or saline solution that causes multiple problems due to an uncontrollable electrolysis reaction. Just because silver chloride enters the body in this form, does not mean that it stays in this form. Not only is this "silver mud" less effective by far than a properly made isolated silver, but it contains an abundance of actual metallic silver particles ( some small to the point of being invisible to the human eye ), which vastly increases the risk of argyria based solely on the amount of silver ingested. It is likely that depletion of selenium and possibly Vitamin E will result in a far shorter time period as well. Stating that silver chloride is less toxic by 30 times than silver nitrate is misleading, as silver nitrate is extremely toxic. Silver nitrate nasal spray products used in low quantities have been known to cause argyria with only a few months of use. Is the possibility of acquiring argyria after using an ounce daily of a silver chloride-rich product, after sixty months, appealing? What does that say about using 8 to 16 ounces daily for three years? These are questions that one must answer for oneself.
Many people such as Mark Metcalf are constantly trying to find justifications to support their position, usually in an attempt to justify their product sales and appease concerned customers. Proper Selenium and Vitamin E supplementation reduces the risk of argyria, but is only of secondary importance. Primary importance is assigned to metabolic efficiency, and metabolic burden. Do not use inferior production methods to make colloidal silver, especially utilizing salt as a primer, if argyria is a personal concern; utilize products at between 3 PPM and 10 PPM.
Fallacy: There is no cure for argyria.
Fact: We have uncovered three known cases of argyria cured.
The first and second cases of argyria cured involve intense cleansing protocols designed specifically to eliminate silver and other environmental toxic agents from the human body. The third case, thusfar unique, involves laser surgery.
The second confirmed case was a true silver poisoning case with cosmetic argyria. The case was handled by John Hopkins Center for Environmental Health, with Dr. Ziem ( now retired ) consulting. The silver poisoning was due to industrial exposure to a wide array of toxic substances.
In the third argyria cured case, laser surgery successfully eliminated the skin discoloration associated with cosmetic argyria. The laser surgery was performed by Dr. Allison Vidimos RPh MD, at the Cleveland Clinic.
Further information can be found at the following locations in our silver safety forum:
Fallacy Award Section
Web site award winners for the largest leaps of imagination or the greatest stretching of information and knowledge:
The biggest stretch of truths on the world wide web: http://together.net/~rjstan/ - Rosemary Jacobs' web site is actually very informative. The problem is, much of the information shared is misrepresented ( copied on 12/5/02 ):
"Both Rosemary and the FDA have asked them for their proof. All they get are quotes from old quacks who manufactured the stuff at the turn of the century, misquotes from reputable authors and wonderful anecdotes." In a civilized society, such a statement should incur criminal prosecution, as Rosemary continues to insist that this is the case, when the FDA's own public records demonstrate that it is not ( evidence presented, even if it is not in the acceptable legal format or not 100% conclusive, is still evidence ).
What do we have to say? Self-proclaimed argyria expert Rosemary Jacobs ought to read these FDA Transcripts.
We gave these two examples not to be inconsiderate of the concerns and feelings of those that run the above web sites, but to remind our readers to apply the mind and sound judgement to any given situation, and to be cautious of those with an emotional or economic interest in silver products, or the elimination of them. Jumping to conclusions, we have found, is rarely wise, and the diligent researcher can wade through the confusion to find a very satisfactory answer to the argyria concern that may one day prove to have life-saving value.
View our next article: Reported Argyria Cases
times since August 2009
EPA Silver Safety Studies ----FDA and Colloidal Silver ----Silver Compound Toxicity ----FAQ: Silver Salts, Proteins and Isolated Silver ----Argyria and Colloidal Silver ----Argyria: Reported Cases ----Cure for Argyria ----Herxheimer Reaction ----Silver Side Effects Poll ----Roger Altman Silver Elimination Study ----World Health Organization Silver Toxicity Data-------Mark Metcalf
Page Last Modified: 08/23/17 06:18