Wearing gold all over the body appears to be the kind of fad that appeals to a few politicians (names withheld) and very rich and spoilt brats.
Not because they can’t suffer the harsh aftermath of dangerous metals but because what they have is pure.
Have you ever developed an ugly scratch after wearing jewellery? That itch or any other reaction could well be your body not responding well to the metals; this reactions can be fatal.
Take the case of a Canadian man who is reported to have died after gold-plating his testicles to celebrate winning more than a half a million dollars jackpot.
Justin Reiter from Alberta, Canada, is thought to have died from complications arising from a ruinous desire for golden balls.
Friends said Reiter drew inspiration from 2002 movie comedy Goldmember — a parody whose story line is about a criminal mastermind who colours his victims’ members in gold.
Autopsy would later reveal that Justin died from lead poisoning, the result of an earlier ‘celebration’ that involved painting his genitals with a lead-based paint before deciding to up the ante to gold.
Gold, according to Dr Eliud Monda, a Nairobi dermatologist based at International skin and medical clinic, is non-reactive to the human body.
“Pure gold is safe for use,” he says adding that, “Gold on the skin does not react with anything and therefore cannot cause irritation, itchiness, or any other allergic reactions.”
And since the metal is inert, doctors don’t expect any allergic reactions even when used on teeth.
The only time a patient will complain of allergy coming from gold products, says Monda, is when the gold is impure. And it should not be hard to know that those who sold you the gold robbed you. “After a while they start turning darker,” said Monda.
But there are metals which are dangerous and can cause serious allergic reactions, adds Eliud. Metal allergies present with vesicles, eczema blotches and plaques.
Lead and Mercury are among metals ranked high in danger scale.
Dr Kizito Lubano, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi medical school says that lead causes ill health; ranging from general body weakness to cancer causing properties.
“The problem is that many people come into contact with lead in their day to day lives but they don’t even know,” he says.
Long-term contact with lead eventually leads to high lead concentration in the blood; which is detrimental.