DH alerts public on case of silver poisoning (with photos)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (February 27) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume a product that contains colloidal silver and to seek medical consultation immediately if they feel unwell after consumption, in particular if discolouration of the skin is developed.

     The DH was notified by the Hospital Authority (HA) on February 24 of a case of silver poisoning involving a 66-year-old female patient with a history of consuming a product, namely LIVING Colloidal Silver, who presented with bluish-grey discoloration at fingernails beds.

     According to information from the HA, the patient first presented with deterioration of memory and was referred to specialist out-patient department of United Christian Hospital for follow-up.

     Initial investigation revealed that the patient had bought this colloidal silver product from a supplier located in Prince Edward and had used it for more than 10 years, including oral consumption as well as topical use on her eye corners and fingers. Her blood sample revealed a silver level higher than the reference level, while testing by the HA also detected silver in this product. She was diagnosed by the HA to be a silver poisoning case with argyria.

     Upon notification, the DH immediately commenced epidemiological investigation which is ongoing.

     Silver has no known function in the human body and is not an essential nutrient. Chronic exposure to colloidal silver can cause argyria, which is a permanent bluish-grey discolouration of the skin. Systemic manifestations including anaemia, bone marrow suppression, liver function derangement and neurological deficit can ensue.

     In Hong Kong, there is no registered pharmaceutical product that contains colloidal silver as an active ingredient. There is no scientific evidence that supports non-topical (internal) use of colloidal silver for treating any specific disease or condition.

     The public is reminded not to consume any product containing colloidal silver due to its potential risks and the lack of scientific evidence in support of health benefit through the internal use of colloidal silver.

     A hotline (2961 8949) for public enquiries has been set up which will operate from 9am to 5pm from tomorrow (February 28).

Ends/Monday, February 27, 2023
Issued at HKT 20:47