Blue ManThe dude who drank so much colloidal silver that his skin turned blue has just sneaked in under the wire to become my biggest in-box filler of the year (and of all time). Dozens — hundreds? — of e-mails have poured in with links to the YouTube video of this poor, deluded, future star of Broadway. So, okay, let’s chat for a second.

People, please stop drinking silver. Just put down your hot, steaming mugs of elemental deliciousness right now. I know, I know, it’s the holidays, and nothing could be better than a slice of pecan pie with a side of argentum swirl ice cream, but if you keep this up, you’re going to look like this guy:

Behold, a clear, physical representation of what pseudoscience can do — turn you into Papa Smurf.

Now, I know that seems like it could be a good result. After all, Papa Smurf had that hot little number Smurfette hanging around. But, before you go shopping for tiny red underpants, remember some of the other, less visible-on-national-television side effects of colloidal silver: seizures, nerve damage, kidney damage, indigestion, headaches, fatigue, skin irritation, coma, and maybe impotence. Uh, and penile atrophy. Smurfette? Smurfette, where did you go? Aw.

All these side effects might be worth it if colloidal silver did something — anything — positive for your health. However, this “nutritional supplement” (so labeled by the FDA to prevent dishonest sellers from claiming that the stuff cures any kind of malady) does nothing more than make you the laughing stock of your town. So, why do people take it? Simple: it’s yet another “all-natural” cure developed by our Dark Age ancestors. That’s an easy sale when it comes to people with a slight mistrust of latter day science and medicine.

Living in a world with so much life-saving medicine to offer, people don’t seem to understand that in the “good old days” 300 years ago, humans didn’t know jack. It was the “childhood of our species,” as Chris Hitchens once wrote. In 2007, 12-year old children probably know more about medicine than the average physician of the Middle Ages. So why keep using a “treatment” that didn’t even work back then? Simply put, it’s easy to remember your childhood fondly while conveniently forgetting what a stupid little kid you were. Colloidal silver and it’s ilk are the grown-up versions of sticking crayons up your nose to treat cooties. Hey, it worked back then, right?

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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10 Comments

  1. Avatar of Rav Winston
    December 23, 2007 at 4:15 am —

    It's a Delvian invasion!

  2. Avatar of Darla
    December 23, 2007 at 4:36 am —

    Blue daba dee daba dah…funny stuff! I was thinking this same thing about him turning blue..I will remember this holiday season to not drink the silver!

    Merry Christmas Girl!

  3. Avatar of Ziggy66
    December 23, 2007 at 5:25 am —

    Yeah, you won't be laughing when he starts s******ng silver dollars!

  4. Avatar of writerdd
    December 23, 2007 at 7:17 am —

    That's just weird. I never heard of it before but I really can't believe anyone would not be afraid of those side effects. Yikes. I can't even take prescribed meds sometimes because of my fear of the side effects.

    And yes, I happen to like living in a time when we have antibiotics, particularly. Otherwise I'd have to quit shaving my legs, in case I got a cut that got infected that turned to gangrene that led to having my leg amputated, or even worse, to my death. The good ole days weren't really all that good.

  5. Avatar of Rodney
    December 23, 2007 at 8:18 am —

    Wow,

    That's really scary. I'd never heard of it before either.

    I don't even know how to get colloidal silver and am now, quite frankly, afraid I might be getting it accidentally.

    I would normally NEVER take any seudo-science "supplements" or anything of the type. But if you don't know what it is, how do you know you're not?

    I'll be looking into it and thanks for the heads up,

    rod

  6. Avatar of Samuel
    December 23, 2007 at 1:28 pm —

    Sean Smith [I]: Beer and pussy. That's all I need.

    Ronald Fisher [I]: We gotta find ourselves a Smurfette.

    Sean Smith [I]: Smurfette?

    Ronald Fisher [I]: Yeah, not some tight-ass Middlesex chick, right? Like this cute little blonde that will get down and dirty with the guys. Like Smurfette does.

    Donnie [I]: Smurfette doesn't fuck.

    Ronald Fisher [I]: That's bullshit. Smurfette fucks all the other Smurfs. Why do you think Papa Smurf made her? Because all the other Smurfs were getting too horny.

    Sean Smith [I]: No, no, no, not Vanity. I heard he was a homosexual.

    Ronald Fisher [I]: Okay, then, you know what? She fucks them and Vanity watches. Okay?

    Sean Smith [I]: What about Papa Smurf? I mean, he must get in on all the action.

    Ronald Fisher [I]: Yeah, what he does, he films the gang-bang, and he beats off to the tape.

    Donnie [I]: [shouts] First of all, Papa Smurf didn't create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village. But the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario, it just couldn't happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don't even have… reproductive organs under those little, white pants. It's just so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. You know, what's the point of living… if you don't have a dick?

    Sean Smith [I]: [pause] Dammit, Donnie. Why you gotta get all smart on us?

    -Donnie Darko

  7. Avatar of exarch
    December 25, 2007 at 11:52 pm —

    Walking around blue, going to the oscars (or whatever) looking like you were attacked by a giant octopus, this is what awaits you if you buy into quackery: unrelenting ridicule.

  8. Avatar of awbranch
    January 8, 2008 at 12:54 pm —

    This guy showed up on the Today Show. He still thinks the only reason his skin turned blue was because he applied it to his face. Dude, take a look at your arms!!!

  9. Avatar of spencer jones
    January 19, 2008 at 12:02 am —

    Several things about this news story that strike me as odd right off the bat:

    First of all, the man is really blue. I mean really blue. When people contract argyria (i.e., skin graying) from ingesting excessive amounts of colloidal silver over long periods of time, they usually turn grey, not blue. That’s because the excessive silver buildup in their body has worked its way to the skin (the human body’s largest organ of elimination), and when the sun strikes the skin it tarnishes the large number of silver particles lodged there, turning the skin slate grey.

    It is quite possible this man actually has a heart disease resulting in cyanosis (skin bluing from oxygen deficiency in the blood). Nevertheless, he says his condition is the result of taking colloidal silver for the past 14 years, so we have to take his word for it.

    As I have been warning for the past 12 years, drinking excessive amounts of colloidal silver on a daily basis for long periods of time will indeed result in argyria for many people, particularly those with poor kidney and liver function. That’s because the excessive daily intake of silver particles is more than their kidneys and liver can expel at any one time. This can result in a residual buildup of the silver particles in the body’s tissues each time a person drinks more silver than their excretory organs can expel. Eventually, over time, the body tries to push this residual buildup of silver from the tissues out toward the skin, at which point the skin turns grey upon exposure to sunlight.

    Also, the news story doesn’t tell us how much colloidal silver this man was taking daily. This is a typical ploy of the corporate news media. They want you to believe that any amount of colloidal silver is potentially dangerous, when that is in reality the farthest thing from the truth. But to create the illusion, they don’t bother to tell you how much colloidal silver was taken each day for those 14 years, even though that is the most critical factor in the story! As one experienced colloidal silver user stated in a blog regarding this news video, “This idiot would had to have drank Colloidal Silver by the gallon to have that happen to him!” While we disavow the name-calling, the point is well taken. You have to try real hard to discolor your skin by drinking colloidal silver. It is actually easier to turn your skin orange from drinking too much carrot juice than it is to turn your skin gray (or blue) from drinking colloidal silver.

    We also noticed that in the original news video of this story from CNN, the man is shown using a conventional colloidal silver generator distributed by a company in Canada. We are familiar with the company that makes the exact generator displayed in the news video, and personally like the people behind the company. We have spoken with them several times in the past, and they are clearly very sincere about helping, educating and empowering people to be responsible for their own health. But as we have warned you for many years now, most conventional colloidal silver generators produce overly-high levels of silver (i.e., ppm, or silver by weight) in every batch, and the particle size of the silver is also often overly-large. So you have to be very careful if you are using a conventional colloidal silver generator.

    This is precisely the reason why we chose to distribute the new Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator, which allows you to produce silver particles so small it takes a Transmission Electron Microscope operating at a whopping 175,000x magnification to see them. In comparison, silver particles produced by conventional colloidal silver generators can generally be seen under a standard microscope operating at only 20,000x magnification. This means the silver particles produced by the new Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator are an astonishing 875% smaller than those produced by conventional colloidal silver units. In other words, they are far smaller than any blood cell, blood vessel, virus, bacteria, or fungus. You can see a Transmission Electron Microscope photograph of these tiny sub-microscopic silver particles by going to our home page at http://www.thesilveredge.com and scrolling down until you get near the bottom of the page, where you will see it on the right-hand side. As you will see, the new Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator produces silver particles as small as .0008 microns, which is eight ten-thousandths of a single micron. As far as we know, these are the smallest silver particles produced by any low-voltage colloidal silver generator on the face of the earth. This is probably why the new Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator is now the world’s most popular colloidal silver generator.

    Finally, this gentleman’s contention that his skin turned blue from rubbing colloidal silver on it, rather than from drinking it, is…well…rubbish. If the colloidal silver actually did cause his condition, then it was from drinking it in excessive quantities over long periods of time. If he rubbed anything on his skin and turned it blue, I can assure you it was not colloidal silver. This man is apparently blue nearly from head to toe. It is highly unlikely he was rubbing colloidal silver all over his body. And even if he was, it would not have turned him into a Smurf.

    Also I would be extremely remiss if I did not point out one more vital fact in regards to this news video: Out of the estimated seven to 10 million regular colloidal silver users in the United States alone, this is only the second or third person the news media have been able to find in the last 20 years (to my knowledge, anyway) who has “turned blue.” (For the inside scoop on the last news media “blue man,” see our web site at http://www.thesilveredge.com and scroll down to the link titled “Did Colloidal Silver Turn This Man Blue?” As you will see, the news media claimed a man turned blue from taking colloidal silver back in 2002, but that story turned out to be highly exaggerated.)

    At any rate, I still find it absolutely amazing that the news media will find two or three people who get this benign but unsightly skin condition out of the literally millions of regular colloidal silver users in the U.S. and Canada, and then broadcast it from the rooftops as if it were the norm. But they won't mention the astonishing 2.2 million people who suffer serious and quite often life-threatening adverse reactions from prescription drug use every single year, or the 100,000 Americans KILLED each year from prescription drug use, which is 30 times more than all of the U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war! Let’s see now: two or three people turning blue in 20 years from excessive colloidal silver usage, versus 100,000 people a year being flat-out put into their graves by common drugs their doctors prescribed them. Which is more newsworthy? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

    This man’s case is obviously an extremely rare one. But it is a good example of what we have been saying for years: In much the same way you wouldn’t eat a half a bottle of vitamins a day unless you want to endure some potentially nasty side effects over time, you also can’t take excessive amounts of colloidal silver daily without eventually provoking a nasty side effect called argyria. Most people are intelligent enough not to take the kind of huge daily dosages that would be necessary to stain your skin like this man has apparently done over the course of the past 14 years. But there are still many web sites out there that claim colloidal silver has “no side effects whatsoever” and that you can “drink all you want with no risk.” Those are blatantly untrue statements. And we have been sounding the alarm against such statements for years.

    Again, just as you can’t take all of the vitamins you want every day without risk, so you can’t drink all of the colloidal silver you want each day without risk. If you take excessive quantities of colloidal silver daily for long periods of time, you do indeed risk contracting argyria (i.e., skin graying). It is not a guarantee you will become argyric. But it is a very real risk. The key to avoiding side effects from colloidal silver, or from any other natural supplement for that matter, is the same one your mother taught you when you were a little child: “Don’t overdo it; use MODERATION in all things.” If an ounce of colloidal silver a day works good for you, then for goodness sakes don’t start thinking that maybe 16 ounces a day will be even better. It is that “more must be even better” mentality that ultimately produces these rare cases of side effects which the news media in turns capitalizes on in order to scare people away from using this otherwise safe and powerfully effective all-natural infection-fighting agent and immune system booster, which has been used by tens of millions of people worldwide since it was first invented in the late 1800’s shortly after Edison harnessed electricity.

    For those interested in learning more about colloidal silver dosage, please visit our web site at http://www.thesilveredge.com and download our FREE special report titled “What's the "Safest" Daily Dosage for Colloidal Silver?” which uses the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) own figures to determine how much colloidal silver is safe to take daily. Just use the link in the located in the upper left-hand corner of the home page. You might also want to scroll down the page and find the link titled “Buyer Beware: Not All Colloidal Silver Generators Are the Same” and read that article, which is posted right on the web site.

    What’s more, our home page article will explain how we became the largest colloidal silver generator distributor in the world, and it also reveals our role in helping develop the world’s most popular colloidal silver generator – the Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator – which produces silver particles so infinitesimally small the human body is able to absorb, utilize, and successfully excrete them with greater ease than any of the silver solutions produced by conventional colloidal silver generators. This superior absorption, utilization and excretion alleviates the need to take huge daily quantities of colloidal silver, giving you all of the benefits of this powerful natural infection-fighting agent and immune system booster without the risk associated with excessive usage.

    Finally, if you want to learn even more about the safe usage of colloidal silver, I am happy to announce that Life & Health Research Group has recently placed their one-hour, studio-quality Colloidal Silver Secrets video on sale for only twenty bucks. If features Steve Barwick, author of The Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual, being interviewed relentlessly by television personality Kristyn Burtt on just about every aspect of colloidal silver usage you can imagine. He even demonstrates how to make a crude, emergency colloidal silver generator out of common household implements in under two minutes. I don’t know how long they will keep this great 60-minute long video (available in DVD or VHS) available at such a low price, so you should check it out now at http://www.lifeandhealthresearchgroup.com

    Regards and good health!

    Spencer Jones for TheSilverEdge.com

  10. Avatar of PH
    January 19, 2008 at 1:46 am —

    Spencer,

    Lovely puff-piece.

    As I understood it, getting orange skin from excess carotene is reversible, so whether or not it's easier to achieve than grey skin from excess silver isn't really relevant.

    I can *easily* turn my skin grey by smearing grey mud on it, but that's not a problem since it's easy to correct. People might think I was odd while it lasted, but it wouldn't be a lifelong thing.

    If there was any good evidence that silver did have beneficial medical effects when taken internally, why wouldn't it be used in proper medicine the way that silver is used in burn creams?

    If there was any good evidence of effectiveness, why did the FDA stop people making claims of medical efficacy and relegate colloidal silver to a ''dietary supplement'?

    It would seem
    http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics
    that home-making colloidal silver is the likeliest route to getting argyria.

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