“Cure-alls” rarely cure anything, let alone everything, and the so-called “magic cards” being sold in Thailand are no different. Even more problematic than being at best a placebo is the fact that these cards are highly radioactive – making them demonstrably harmful, Thai officials have warned.
According to reports in the Bangkok Post, the products are being sold in Khon Kaen, a city in northeast Thailand, where a single card can cost around 1,500 baht ($49). Unbeknownst to the customer, some of these cards also have radioactive emissions 350 times above what is safe for humans to absorb in a single year, says the Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP).
“We are currently trying to analyze the degree of radioactive contamination in the area,” the OAP wrote in a statement, the Bangkok Post reports.
Already, investigations led by the OAP found traces of uranium and thorium across the surface of the cards. Meanwhile, a video uploaded to Facebook by Weerachai Phutdhawong, a professor of Kasetsart University, explains how cutting the cards in two reveals a compressed white powder between plastic sheets – powder that just so happens to contain radioactive and heavy metal materials, Khao Sod reports.
It's been said that some people are placing the cards on their bodies to relieve specific aches and pains, while others are dipping cards into drinking water to sip as liquid medicine. Needless to say, neither is advisable.
“Dipping the cards into drinking water may contaminate it with carcinogenic particles, which increase the risk of cancer,” the OAP warned.
The cards themselves divulge little about their medicinal properties or their ingredients. One, reports the Independent, bears the words “Magic Card” in Indonesian alongside the phrase “health, fuel, electricity”. But the company distributing the cards having been telling locals they emit a health-boosting “power” that can cure illness and increase wellness, writes the Bangkok Post. The entire enterprise may be part of a pyramid scheme, whereby card distributors employ underling distributors who have to pay for stock, Khao Sod reports.
While investigations are ongoing, owners of any cards are being asked to contact Thailand's Institute of Nuclear Technology so that they can find out the best way to dispose of the product safely.