With reference to the recent letter by Mike McCarthy concerning colloidal silver, whilst Mike is to be applauded for his concern and vigilance in the public interest, as a role-player in the introduction of colloidal silver to South Africa, I would welcome an opportunity to balance your reader’s current perspective by presenting pertinent information that Mr McCarthy, in his zeal to make his many valid points regarding exaggerated health claims, has overlooked. 

Modernelectrolytic colloidal silveris an oligodynamic (effective in ultra-low concentration) naturally microbicidal earth element by virtue of disabling only the metabolic enzymes of anaerobic unicellular micro-organisms, yet is uniquelyharmless to mammals at effective concentrations(Thurman R et al, 1st International Conference on Gold & Silver in Medicine, Silver Institute, Wash, 1989). Modern soil depletion, food processing and water treatment (flocculation and filtration) mitigate against reliably receiving adequate dietary amounts of this protective element, which constitutes about 0.07ppm (parts per million) in the earth’s crust and until fairly recently, was readily available via the food chain and was supplemented by food related silverware without any epidemiological evidence of harm.

Rosemary Jacobs, the most popularised argyria victim, who is used to demonise colloidal silver, was poisoned more than forty years ago by “silver nose drops of unknown composition” (NEJM, 340(20), 1999).There are no cases of argyria in modern medical history as a result of electro-colloidal silver, despite its popularity.All reference to toxicities, on careful checking, leads directly to industrial exposures orabuseof orthodoxy sanctioned, now discontinued medical silver products, usually not even colloidal silver and if so, always by a defunct grind method, and in cases of severe toxicities, intravenous injections in gram-plus quantities in animal experiments (US EPA, Integrated Risk Information System, “Silver”, 1998). The key to the safety and efficacy of modern colloidal/ionic silver is its atomic and sub-atomic particle size and hence greater individual number and total active surface area.

Exaggerated commercial health claims for colloidal silver use against serious medical conditions and OTC or self-treatment without adequate supervision or well-informed protocols, adds legitimacy to regulator’s concerns, yet much misinformation about colloidal silver toxicity has its genesis in the protectionist pharma-cartel and its bought and / or ideologically biased lap-dog regulatory agencies. As an example, consider this paradox, forced upon the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration when it recently attempted to regulate colloidal silver as a medicine because of “significant toxicity and no legitimate uses” but had to amend its own illogical legislation so as to effectively exempt colloidal silver provided it issold for use in the “purification or treatment of drinking water without therapeutic claims” (Commonwealth of Australia, Special Gazette No S 486, 20 December 2002). The obvious absurdity is that a substance cannot be toxic and useless only when sold with therapeutic claims, yet safe and efficacious if added to drinking water at the same approved concentrations, in this instance, over an entire lifetime.

Some foods accumulate silver, eg mushrooms may boost silver consumption up to between 200 to 300ppm per day. Approximately 10% of orally-ingested silver enters systemic circulation and of that, up to 98% is gathered up by metallothioneins, which transport, store and detoxify essential and nonessential trace metals (Silver, The Healthful Metal, Silver Institute, Wash,December 31, 1999).Argyria, a bluish-grey discoloration of the skin, although not aesthetic, is extremely rare, is “non-pathogenic” / “medically benign” and a daily ingestion dose of 1-30gram would be required to induce the condition (Fowler B, Nordberg G, “Silver”, in Handbook on the Toxicology of Metals, Friberg L et al, eds. Elsevier Sci Pub, Vol 2, 521-31, 1986);(US EPA, Integrated Risk Information System: ‘Silver’, 1998). Approximately3.5gram daily over an entire lifetime will be required to cause argyria, according to a year 2000 estimate by international trace mineral expert, Prof Alexander Schauss, PhD, Director of Life Sciences at John Hopkins University, in response to FDA proposals, which is 10,000 times that advocated.

Ionic/atomic silver is an effectiveantimicrobial at concentrations astronomical orders of magnitude below what is harmful to higher life forms. Concentrations necessary to sterilise drinking water (or by extension, body fluids ­ we are 70% water) contaminated with pathogens are 40-200 gamma / .04-.2ppm (1ppm = 1000 gamma) (Thomson N, Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry, Pergamon, NY, 1973). Most colloidal silver available in South Africa is generated by a water purification device from the Gaia Research Institute, producing 1ppm of silver (and possibly a suggested microbicidal synergism with 5-15 drops of hydrogen peroxide). One teaspoon (5ml) of 1ppm colloidal silver in a glass (250ml) of water equals 20ppb. Since drinking water guidelines relate to lifetime exposure for the most susceptible sub-groups, calculated at 2 litres a day over an entire lifetime, one could safely consume 8 glasses each with 5 teaspoons (25 ml) of 1 ppm of colloidal silver every day without risk of argyria, the only and purely hypothetical risk to users. Most commonly used is a mere teaspoon in a glass of water 3 or 4 times daily.

Colloidal Silver and hydrogen peroxide, especially in combination, exhibit significant microbial inactivation at concentrations that pose no health risk according to the EEC, WHO and US EPA.Several countries, includingSwitzerland, Germany and Australia have given approval for the use of colloidal silver and hydrogen peroxide as a drinking water disinfectant.The EEC and Israel Ministry of Health have specifically approved the use of colloidal silver as a drinking water disinfectant at an MCL(Maximum Contaminant Level)of 80ppb(Pedahzur, R et al, Water Sci Technol, 31(5-6), 1995). Widespread use might result in potential for uptake of silver ions by humans, but research suggests that: “risks are minimal under all likely scenarios” (Final Report: Evaluation of the Efficacy of a New Secondary Disinfectant Formulation Using Hydrogen Peroxide and Silver. US EPA NNCER, Dec 3, 2001).

The USA EPA has declared that “silver does not cause adverse health effects”and set a MCL at 100 ppb for all drinking water. Recently anEU Drinking Water Standard proposed removing any upper limit for silver in drinking water, followingthe WHO’s Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality, which states that:“it is not necessary to recommend any health-based guidelines for silver as it is not hazardous to human health”(“Silver Water Purification Systems Offer Reliable Alternative to Chlorine”, The Silver Institute, Wash, March 25, 1997). The World Health Organisation still advocates 100ppb levels of silver for drinking water (Pelkonen K et al, Toxicology, 186(1-2), 2003). I shall resist arguing for the efficacy of colloidal silver against bacteria, viruses, spore-forming organisms, yeasts and mould fungi, since this should be beyond dispute. As mentioned previously, we are comprised of 75% water. By restoring and maintaining the integrity of that water, we restore and maintain the integrity of the body by freeing it of pathogens. Herein lies the paradox of philosophically diametrically opposed public health authorities both praising and demonizing the same substance. I shall leave it to the now informed reader to decide either way.

Stuart Thomson

Director, Gaia Research Institute, Knysna.

Dr Rath about SARS:

Now that the revelations of this plan in my Open Letters and in this interview has essentially killed this strategy, an alternate plan has developed. It is no coincidence that the new epidemic, SARS, became a worldwide fear factor in the very week the strategists behind the Iraq war realized that they could not materialize their preferred plan, to provoke a war with weapons of mass destruction.

The global hysteria promoted by the media around SARS has nothing to do with the real danger from this epidemic. SARS is simply a viral disease that, just like any other viral disease, can be largely contained and prevented by optimum amounts of ascorbate (vitamin C) and certain other natural molecules. But these molecules are not patentable and therefore are not promoted. What is promoted though is a global fear of some mystery epidemic and that scare serves only the Cartel: it drives people’s minds back into a dependency upon the pharmaceutical industry and it promotes a climate where – at least some – enabling laws can also be pushed through.

There is no need to be scared of SARS. Its cause is the corona virus that has been known for a long time. Two spoonfuls of vitamin C powder a day, together with some other vitamins that boost the immune system, are the measure of choice to control SARS, just like any other viral disease. Since ascorbate (vitamin C) is known to block the most aggressive virus known today – HIV/AIDS – by more than 99%, it can also effectively contain SARS.