What need has a cat for silver? Last living argyria victim challenges claims

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1996:

DERBY LINE, Vermont– –
Celeste Yarnell, author of Cat Care Naturally,
is aggressively marketing colloidal silver
preparations for cats. Longtime humane
activist Rosemary Jacobs takes that personally.
“Since colloidal silver is being sold
as a dietary supplement,” not as a drug,
Jacobs warns, “these preparations are unregulated
and untested by the FDA.”
Disfigured by colloidal silver since
1956, when she was just 13, Jacobs knows
first-hand that it can be dangerous indeed, to
both animals and humans.
“I may have more silver in my body
than anyone else alive today,” Jacobs affirms.
“I am one of the few people, including physicians
and veterinarians, who knows about the
condition argyria and the dangers of colloidal
silver preparations. Ms. Yarnall claims that
‘colloidal silver has been used for thousands of
years, apparently with no harmful effects on
the body.’ This is not true. Colloidal silver
causes a r g y r i a, a slate-grey discoloration of
the skin. The condition is irreversible and cannot
be colored with makeup. I know because I
have it. I got argyria from nose drops a doctor
gave me over 40 years ago. Any serious
research on colloidal silver would find the connection.
It’s in the literature.”

Claimed Yarnall in the September/
October 1995 edition of Natural Pet,
“Research has shown that traces of silver in
the body act almost like a second immune system.”
She suggested using colloidal silver
eyedrops and topical treatments to fight conjunctivitis
and sinusitis in cats, and described
her techniques for giving it to cats and kittens
as an oral prophylactic.
Beginning on October 29, 1995,
Jacobs has repeatedly begged the editors of
Natural Pet and other publications carrying
Yarnall’s ads and articles touting colloidal silver
to print her own letters of rebuttal, to no
avail. Jacobs has also appealed unsuccessfully
to Yarnall to cease advocating colloidal silver.
On January 9, Yarnall told Jacobs
that the source of her statement about the use
of colloidal silver against conjunctivitis and
sinusitis was a Robert J. Hartman, “who in
1939 [in a book called Colloid Chemistry] stated that, ‘Colloidal silver can be applied
directly to delicate mucus membranes such as
those in the eye with no irritation and with
beneficial results.’”
Jacobs sent Yarnall a pile of recent
medical journal articles arguing to the contrary.
An assessment of colloidal silver published
earlier this year by Food and Drug
Administration medical doctors Man C. Fung
and Debra Bowen, notes that contrary to past
belief, research on mice and rats demonstrates
that silver “accumulates widely in the body,”
and that “parenterally administered silver salts
can accumulate in neurons and in protoplasmic
glia cells of the brain and spinal cord,” with
potential toxic effects, and the hint of possible
effects on fetal development in humans.
Responded Yarnall, in a January 23
letter to Jacobs, “I am not a chemist. I am
merely a lay person who has had some success
taking coloidal silver myself and administering
it to my cats. I am not interested in entering
into a debate on the subject. My own results
have been very dramatic, and neither myself
nor my cats have suffered any negatives.”
Jacobs isn’t a chemist, either. But
she has suffered a lifetime of discrimination
due to argyria. “It is very hard for grey people
living in a black-and-white world to get things
as basic as jobs and apartments,” she writes.
Turning grey might not matter so much to a
cat, since many start out grey––but despite the
silver in her system, Jacobs adds, “I have
always gotten more and worse upper respiratory
infections than anyone else I’ve ever
known,” belying the claim that the silver has
prophylactic value.
“When at the age of 42 I was lying
in pre-op, tranquilized,” she continues,
“waiting to have a malignant breast tumor
removed, the nurses looked at my grey face
and got frantic. They looked at my chart, but
it didn’t help them because they didn’t know
what argyria was. Barely able to speak, I
motioned them over to my mouth and whispered,
‘I’m not in cardiac arrest. I’m always
this color.’ ‘Thank God!’ one of them
responded. A lot of protection the silver was
to me!”
Colloidal silver was already considered
an obsolete treatment, generally abandoned,
when Jacobs was introduced to it,
unaware of the risk. She hoped she would be
the last victim.

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