Fears of scratch card’s potential to cause cancer calmed

Nigeria Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (Natcom) has come to the fore to contest claims that the silver seal used to coat scratch cards can cause skin-related complications including cancer.

Early this month, there was widespread distribution of the cancer SMS messages warning subscribers not to use fingernails to scratch off the coating on scratch cards, claiming it contains a substance called “Silver Nitro oxide” that can cause cancer.

The SMS message read: “Medical Research Authority of the US has found new cancer in human beings caused by ‘Silver Nitro oxide’. Whenever you buy recharge cards or calling cards don’t scratch them with your nail as it contains silver nitro oxide’ coating and can cause skin cancer. Copy and paste this status and spread awareness please.”

There was also another SMS warning mobile users about cosmic rays from planet Mars into planet earth where they claimed that phones must be switched off for one not to be affected by the ray.

Natcom’s president Deolu Ogunbanjo commented that the message was untrue as the coating on scratch cards is done using a specialized latex ink, which is a mixture of coloured monomers and oligomers along with reaction ‘photo-initiators’ that are active when exposed to UV radiation.

Ogunbanjo said that the claims did not have concrete backup proof from legitimate medical or scientific sourcing.

He further added that there were no convincing references to prove the existence of an establishment known as the Research Authority of the United States (US).

He said he could not even find evidence to prove the existence of the ‘silver nitro oxide’ adding that there are two compounds that share the same name, that being Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” used as an anaesthetic by medics and also in enhancing engine power in rocketry and motor racing.

The other Nitrous Oxide is a diatomic used to detect cell molecules in mammals as well as play the role of an intermediate in the chemical industry, he said.

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