Testimonies Against Colloidal Silver
Rosemary Jacob's testimony before the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee, May 9, 1999
DR. JUHL: No further questions or comments, let’s move to the open public hearing on mild silver protein. We have two speakers listed; Gina Ford -- is Gina here? I don’t see her here. Then Rosemary Jacobs. Rosemary, welcome.
MS. JACOBS: My name is Rosemary Jacobs. I am a private citizen. I am not sponsored by anybody. You will read rumors on the Internet that will tell you I am sponsored by the pharmaceutical associations and by the medical associations, by the government. That is not true. If it is true, they must be sending homeopathic checks because I haven’t gotten any money from anybody.
Now , I have condition, which is called argyria a-r-g-y-r-i-a. Argyria is gray skin caused by the ingestion of silver. Argyrol, which the doctor mentioned before, was sold in a Hispanic community in Florida until at least 1996. Argyrol was introduced into commerce in the United States by Dr. Alfred C. Barnes in Philadelphia in 1902. Argyrol was the best known brand of mild silver protein.
It has caused many cases of argyria when taken internally. I have ads that are -- I was born in New York in 1942. I have ads from medical journals that are older than I am in which Argyrol was fraudulently advertised as non-toxic. I have articles from medical journals warning doctors and pharmacists about the fraudulent ads.
Now, Argyrol was used for many purposes. There were many, many kinds of silver medicinal on the market. But remember, folks, there was a time we didn’t have antibiotics. People were very sick. There wasn’t much they could do. They were using all kinds of noxious substances to try and save people from these horrible diseases. Silver was one of them.
I know I don’t have much time. So, I will be glad to answer questions privately later. I have a Web page, where I have got a lot of my information up, but I have got a lot more to put up. I have got citations from the medical literature, which I have been reading for about 30 years now.
I was given nose drops that contained silver by an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist in New York when I was a child. I was 11 years old. I was to take them intermittently as needed for allergies, which I did, and my skin turned gray. I am now splotched. I was originally a solid gray but in the late seventies, I was dermabraded and then I went from solid gray to splotchy gray.
There are other people with argyria living today in the United States. Many people with argyria become reclusive and I am a mild case. I am not a timid person. If anything, I am obnoxious. I feel as though I am speaking for everybody.
Now , I believe, but I am not certain that the doctor that gave me the medicine was ignorant. He was a good person. He was a caring person. I also know he didn’t make a cent when my mother bought the drug. The pharmacist, I believe, compounded it and I believe the pharmacist realized the danger and never warned my mother.
I know the companies that are advertised -- the drug companies that advertise silver drugs knew exactly what they were doing. They were lying to make a buck.
Now , with Argyrol -- as I said, Argyrol was used for many things and there are three kinds of argyria, generalized or systemic, which I have, which covers large portions of the body, usually the face. There is localized argyria. Argyria has been caused by every form of silver used therapeutically. It has also been caused by elemental silver.
Then there is argyrosis, which is the silver deposits in the eye. Argyrol has caused many, many documented cases of argyrosis. I think as the doctor pointed out, there was one case recently in Canada, where just one application of the drops to the eye have caused deposits in the eye. That is unusual. Usually, it requires repeated doses.
And also from reviewing the literature, it would look as though there is a very, very wide range of individual susceptibility to silver, to silver toxicity. I know that is for generalized argyria. I don’t know if that would be true for the eyes, too, but I would just have to assume that probably it is.
Now , as you probably all know, silver nitrate was used in the eyes of neonates and literature, it seemed very effective blindness, but it was only effective according to the in stopping against the bacteria from gonorrhea, which they thought that the infant got from the mother when the infant passed through the birth canal or from the hands of the people taking care of it.
Argyrol was promoted for that use, too. In 1928, the Council of Pharmacy and Chemistry for the American Medical Association reviewed the literature and kept asking the company, please, give us your data. Give us the evidence. You are advertising it for this use. Show us that it works.
Well, they never got the data. They got something -- they got testimonials from maybe six different doctors. They found one of them. The others, they couldn’t find and the one had to admit that, no, they weren’t using Argyrol. They were using silver nitrate in the eyes of neonates, using it once, not repeatedly.
It didn’t work in vitro. It didn’t work in vivo. Now, today, there is also the danger if people are permitted to compound this for ophthalmic use, there is the very grave danger that it is also going to be used systemically, people are going to be drinking it. As was pointed out, if you will get on the Internet, if you will go to the health food stores, there are people all over taking what they call colloidal silver. Colloidal silver if you -- I have asked people -- when I first heard about colloidal silver, I was stunned.
I saw an article in a magazine and I thought I was going to read about people that looked like me. I didn’t. I read that this is silver in your body, protects you from every bad thing known to man. And it doesn’t hurt any good thing known to man and it doesn’t hurt the host himself.
I was stunned. There were lists -- they give you lists of these 650 different diseases that it prevents, including cancer. They are promoting it to prevent and cure breast cancer, which I have. You know, I tell them, excuse me, I have it. The nurse thought I was in cardiac arrest. You are telling me silver in your body prevents cancer. How can you say this?
Well, it works for me. Great . It goes on and on and on. I tell them -- the promoters have actually asked me -- I am not a scientist. I tell everybody I am not a scientist. They want me to do their toxicology studies for them. There is no animal model for argyria. You have to line up people who are going to agree to take the stuff to see how much causes argyria. Fine, guys. You have evidence that it prevents or cures a terrible illness, like cancer or AIDS. I bet you are going to have to turn people away. They will be volunteering to take the stuff.
But you don’t have any evidence. Until you have the evidence, you can’t do toxicology studies to get the people to sign up to agree for the studies. Okay. I did an estimate -- it is on my Web page. I think it is hysterical. I mean, you know, I can’t believe that anybody would take an unregulated product -- you know, would take a risk with an unregulated product and want me to evaluate the risk for them. All I have done is gone through the literature and pulled out -- you know, if somebody took a silver nitrate stick in the mouth, so many grams caused argyria and I gave both extremes. And I think in one example somebody used three grams and became argyric, another person used 24.
The same thing with fulvarphenamine (?) in all the different forms. There is this huge, huge wide range and I published it on my Web page for them to look at. The EPA also has done some studies or has something on their Web page about silver.
So, there are people that believe it, though. There are many people out there that actually believe that silver is beneficial for health and it is not toxic. You know why? Because it is natural. It can’t hurt.
They are also using it to purify water. From what we can find, when I first found out about colloidal silver, the first thing I did was go to the promoters and say, please, please, guys, show me your evidence. If you can prove, you know, that it actually prevents serious illnesses, like cancer or AIDS, you know, I will go with you to FDA and present the evidence to them and say here, you have got to approve it.
If you have got evidence that you can help people and save lives, there is no government on earth that can stop you. Just give me the evidence. No evidence yet. I am still waiting. But it is out there and the people believe and they are using it to purify water.
I have heard of cases where people like living in the Southwest instead of carrying, you know, a little bottle of the kind of supposedly purified water you buy in the store, they have their bottle of colloidal silver. They sell machines to make their own.
When I started -- I know lots and lots of dermatologists, who are experts on argyria. Nobody would speak to anybody but me. Now , I found out about this in 1995. Now I have got a lot of doctors and scientists, who are interested. Some of them are trying to test the products out there. What we are getting, we are getting just pure water or we are getting trace elements of silver. But when you think of people going around all day long out in the Southwest carrying a huge bottle of water that they think they have purified with silver, they are being exposed.
And there are also records of people with dairy herds using it in animals. They are using natural products now to cure their animals. The veterinary branch of FDA has told them that they can’t do this. But milk, supposedly, is one of the primary sources of silver in the human diet. So that people could be being exposed from many areas. And for this reason, I just feel that the idea, first of all, to use any form of silver in the eye, all the evidence that I have seen indicates first that it is not effective, second that it is dangerous and then there is the potential for abuse.
They hear all the hype and the promo, the false ads. They are going to take it systemically, somebody is. I just don’t see any reason why it would be put on a bulk list for compounding. I also would like to ask something of the compounders about -- compounders are compounding colloidal silver. Pharmacists are selling colloidal silver and I would like to know -- I would -- please, is there anyone here, please show me your evidence that the product is beneficial and safe. That is all I want.
If I can see evidence that you have got a product that is beneficial and safe, I will support it. I will endorse it. However, without that evidence, please tell me why you are doing it. Are you ignorant, like my doctor was? Or are you quacks, like my pharmacist was?
Acrobat (PDF)File of Rosemary Jacob's testimony.