Argyria and the myth of the blue god, Krishna
khare at alumni.caltech.edu
Thu Apr 3 10:34:16 PST 2003
So I heard this utterly crazy story on 910 AM, C|Net Radio last night,
and it turned out the talk-show host wasn't kidding -- silver can
actually turn your skin blue. What I find even MORE astonishing is that
there isn't a single page on google that even mentions argyria and
Krishna, since this is a perfect fit to the myth of a blue-skinned god,
of which there are many in Hinduism, and none so fundamental as Krishna.
Well, at least now that I've posted this, there will be *one* hit :-)
Supplement leaves candidate with blue skin
Oct. 3, 2002 10:31 AM
GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Montana's Libertarian candidate for Senate has
turned blue from drinking a silver solution that he believed would
protect him from disease.
Stan Jones,a 63-year-old business consultant and part-time college
instructor, said he started taking colloidal silver in 1999 for fear
that Y2K disruptions might lead to a shortage of antibiotics.
He made his own concoction by electrically charging a couple of silver
wires in a glass of water.
His skin began turning blue-gray a year ago.
"People ask me if it's permanent and if I'm dead," he said. "I tell them
I'm practicing for Halloween."
He does not take the supplement any longer, but the skin condition,
called argyria, is permanent. The condition is generally not serious.
Colloidal silver dietary supplements are marketed widely as an
anti-bacterial agent or immune-system booster, but some consider it
Jones is one of three candidates seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Max
Baucus in November. The others are Republican state Sen. Mike Taylor
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> Background: Argyria results from prolonged contact to or ingestion of
> silver salts. It produces a gray to gray-black staining of skin and
> mucous membranes produced by silver deposition. Silver may be deposited
> in the skin either from industrial exposure or as a result of
> medications containing silver salts.
> 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, metallic films on
> glass and china, electroplating solutions, and photographic processing.
> Colloidal silver dietary supplements are marketed widely for cancer,
> AIDS, diabetes mellitus, and herpetic infections. Cases have followed
> the prolonged use of silver salts for the irrigation of urethral or
> nasal mucous membranes, in eye drops, wound dressing, and the excessive
> use of an oral smoking remedy containing silver acetate. Argyria also
> has been attributed to surgical and dental procedures (eg, silver
> amalgam-tattooing, silver sutures used in abdominal surgery). Blue
> macules have appeared at sites of acupuncture needles and silver
> earring sites. Great individual variability exists in the length of
> exposure and total dose needed to result in argyria.
> The normal human body contains about 1 mg silver; the smallest amount
> of silver reported to produce generalized argyria in humans ranges from
> 4-5 g to 20-40 g. Silver at 50-500 mg/kg body weight is the lethal
> toxic dose in humans.
The Silver Supplement Fraud © 1998 Chick Schwartz
Guess who took the colloidal silver (CS)? Rosemary did. That's why she
is slate-gray. The condition is called argyria. It is irreversible and
cannot be covered by makeup.
Actually, Rosemary's doctor in New York prescribed CSP for her back in
the fifties as a treatment for allergies. It was sold as a drug then.
Today it is sold as a dietary supplement. You can find it in "health
food" stores and on the Internet. You can even buy the equipment to make
your own. It was snake oil when it was given to Rosemary. It is snake
The only thing Rosemary recommends CSP for is a gray skin dye. She knows
that it is safe, effective, and permanent when used for that purpose.
She also knows that being a gray person in a black and white world can
have a serious negative impact on your social and economic life.
Promoters claim that CSP prevents and cures 650 diseases including Aids
and cancer. They say that people with even a trace of silver in their
bodies don't get sick!
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. "I've
taken it everyday for four years and feel great," the saleslady says.
The only problem Rosemary has with the anecdotes is that they are
selectively chosen to sell CSP. The promoters refuse to include her
negative anecdotes or those of all the other argyric people recorded in
the medical literature. Rosemary had breast cancer at the age of 42. The
silver in her body made her face so gray that the nurses in pre-op
thought that she was in cardiac arrest! The promoters won't tell you
The FDA has told the promoters that if they want to continue making
medical claims for CSP they will have to first have it approved as a
drug. Of course, that doesn't stop them from selling the stuff as a
"dietary supplement." It just prevents them from legally writing their
claims on the label or putting them in their ads.
And, oh yes, if you do decide to use CSP, have the product analysed by
an independent lab. According to the dietary supplement industry itself,
a lot of the stuff tested that is labelled colloidal silver really
isn't. You see "dietary supplements," thanks to intense industry
lobbying are unregulated by any government agency. So very often what is
on the label isn't in the bottle. In fact, what is in the bottle may
even be something more toxic than CSP. Buyer beware!
> Gettler reported the case of the the "blue man", a curiosity at the
> Barnum and Bailey circus, who was very sick and in his late sixties on
> August 13, 1923 when he was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York
> City. He subsequenly died there and his body was autopsied. His was one
> of the worst cases of argyria ever reported in the medical literature.
> Gettler stated that, "The color of the skin was of an unusually deep
> blue and from a distance appeared almost black. This deep color was
> almost uniform throughout the entire body, although it was more intense
> over the exposed skin areas." The patient refused to answer questions.
> The story he told at the cirus was that he had been suffering from
> congenital heart disease which became worse when he fell from a horse
> while he was an officer in the British army fighting in India. A friend
> who had known him for thirty years said that he had been discolored for
> all that time adding that he had seen a photo of him taken about
> thirty-five years before his hospital admission. In it his skin
> appeared to be a normal white color. He said that the blue man had
> worked in silver mines. There are several reports in the medical
> literature stating that silver miners developed argyria. As far as I
> can tell, those reports are all based on this one unreliable report.
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