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Silver water marketers in Finland accused of false advertising

Finnish health and safety authorities have reprimanded domestic peddlers of water with bits of silver in it for illegal advertising. The offending companies have claimed that the drink heals diseases and prevents illnesses.

Hopeavettä.
Yle's Spotlight programme called attention to the problem. Image: Dennis Storhannus / Yle

Investigation from reporters working for Svenska Yle's Spotlight programme have uncovered several domestic suppliers and sellers that have been illegally marketing silver water in Finland for its abilities to prevent illness and heal diseases. As a result, health authorities have issued the companies with a warning.

The Finnish Agency for Safety and Health, known as Fimea, says the sales and marketing of silver water in several Finnish companies fulfils the criteria of false advertising. 

Silver water is water with a minimal amount of silver particles in it. One website claimed colloidal silver had "remarkable curing effects" for ailments as assorted as acne, inflammations, burn wounds, fungus infections, herpes and hepatitis.

Spotlight pointed out how the use of silver water has grown, even though sales for internal use are prohibited in the EU.  Before the European ban, the water was sold as a food supplement. Several experts have warned about the health risks associated with drinking silver water, as damage to internal organs has been demonstrated in animal testing.

Despite all this, Spotlight was still able to find several examples of Finnish companies advertising the water for its healing and preventive properties. 

Fimea's chief physician Päivi Ruokoniemi said that if the offending companies don't change their advertising, the agency has other ways to intervene.

"We will monitor the situation. If necessary, Fimea can classify silver water as a medical ingredient, like they have done in Sweden. In this way, Fimea could limit both the marketing and sales of the product. If the companies don't comply with the law, we can then prohibit silver water sales."

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