Blue People: The Inevitable End of Love of Silver

Blue People: The Inevitable End of Love of Silver

Today we’re going to cover a case straight out of the “Smurfs”. But our lead character is a little more frightening than our sweet little friends in the cartoon. In case you see one, it is more likely for you to say “Good God, what happened to your face?” instead of Awww so cute!”.

So let’s take a look at this interesting “Blue Man” case!

Blue Politician: Stan Jones

The first popular blue man to appear on the scene was Stan Jones, a politician from the Libertarian Party in the United States. Jones was a candidate for the US Senate twice in the early 2000s. He ran for governor of Montana three times but failed five times. We can say that his outward appearance played an important role in his not-so-bright political background of Jones. Because Jones wanted to protect himself by thinking of a future without antibiotics. That’s why he constantly used a silver solution called colloidal silver”. This adventure, which started with the belief that silver would kill bacteria and thus fight diseases without antibiotics, ended with permanent changes in his skin color. 

Silver is not an element that can be easily removed from our bodies. Therefore, when we are exposed to silver, it is stored in our body and after a certain level it begins to affect our external appearance. That’s what happened to Stan Jones. Due to the excess silver he had taken, his skin had turned a blueish-gray color.

Stan Jones
Stan Jones
Image Source: Wikipedia

When asked about this subject, Stan Jones replied:

“It’s my fault that I overdosed on silver, but I still believe it’s the best antibiotic in the world… If there’s a biological attack in America or if I get any disease, I’ll take it right away. Survival is much more important than turning purple.”

50 Shades of Blue

Our second most popular blue man is a little closer to purple. In 2007, the eagerly anticipated sequel of the blue man was released. This time, Paul Karason is in the lead role. This Blueman also believed that homemade silver salts and colloids were the solutions to many ailments, from skin problems to Gastroesophageal problems. And he used silver compounds for years.

He started to see 50 shades of blue day by day when he looked in the mirror. His skin, which was getting more and more blue, had now turned into a purple color. He died due to a heart attack in 2013. We do not have clear information about whether Karason’s love for silver had an effect on his death.

Paul Karason
Image Source: DailyMail

Does silver really work?

Silver has antiseptic properties just like copper and gold. So it really has an antimicrobial effect. However, when silver is digested, it turns the skin blue and this is a permanent result. Today, there is no easy way to get rid of this color, even though lasers were used to prevent this blueness.

Excess silver accumulates in the body and causes poisoning. In fact, silver is an element that our body does not desire. However, since silver is not an extremely toxic element, there is no evidence that silver poisoning has a direct lethal effect. Many silver compounds change color when exposed to light. For example, silver nitrate, one of the most important silver salts, darkens leather and organic substances. For this reason, it is also known as the hellstone”. Due to this blackening feature, it can be used in many areas such as photography, ink, and hair dye production.

photos 256887 1920

Silver poisoning that results in this skin color change is called Argyria or argyrosis. This condition is thought to be non-fatal and does not cause internal damage, but there is no definitive conclusion. In addition, there is no research to confirm this situation that silver relieves many ailments from syphilis to reflux, as people who use it say.

What is Colloidal Silver?

Today, people are trying to market this situation by using the antiseptic feature of silver. These people give people false hope by selling low-silver liquids, and many of them aim to commercialize the business. These low-silver-content liquids are called colloidal silver. But, again, we should point out that there is no scientific research that such products work.

In addition, there are studies that exposure to high doses of colloidal silver can cause serious side effects such as seizures and organ damage. It is also known that colloidal silver can interact with some prescripted drugs.

Unless your doctor really recommends it, we recommend that you stay away from such alternative medicine approaches.

References and Further Readings

Brent A. Bauer, M. D. (2020, August 25). The truth about colloidal silver. Mayo Clinic.

Kean, S. (2011). The disappearing spoon: and other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of the elements. Back Bay Books/Little, Brown.

ULUC, D. (2002). The interior of the blue-blooded nobles. News.

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, March 21). Stan Jones (Libertarian politician). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, May 11). Argyria. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

You can access the sources of the images used by clicking on the images.

The proofreading has been done by Asu Pelin Akköse and Mete Esencan.

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Mete Esencan

Hello everyone! I'm Mete Esencan. I am a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at METU. I was planning to establish a platform by combining the research knowledge I gained during my basic science education and the management experience I gained in the METU Chemistry Society, which I was in charge of for three years. For this purpose, in February of 2021, I took the first step and established the OkButWhy, a platform where we can write articles as if to chat about science, art and philosophy. I wish everyone a pleasant reading!

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