The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants people to stop drinking bleach. Specifically, the organization has issued a warning against ingesting sodium chlorite products, following a recent rise in reported related health issues.
Known by various names including Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, Chlorine Dioxide (CD) Protocol, Water Purification Solution (WPS), and most commonly, MMS, the product is a liquid solution that is 28 percent sodium chlorite in distilled water. When mixed with citric or hydrochloric acid — known as an “activator” — MMS becomes a potent, bleach-like chemical. It has been touted as a cure-all for conditions including autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and the flu, among others.
The FDA isn’t messing around, warning that “sodium chlorite products are dangerous, and you and your family should not use them” under a heading that reads “MMS Consumers Are Drinking Bleach.” The notice to consumers goes on to note that the chemical compounds used in MMS are the active ingredients in disinfectants, have additional industrial uses, and “are not meant to be swallowed by people.”
People who consume MMS may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and symptoms of severe dehydration. However, according to the FDA, some MMS product labels claim that these symptoms are common after taking the product and are evidence that it’s working. In reality, they are signs that the person is being poisoned by drinking bleach.
“The FDA’s drug approval process ensures that patients receive safe and effective drug products. Miracle Mineral Solution and similar products are not FDA-approved, and ingesting these products is the same as drinking bleach. Consumers should not use these products, and parents should not give these products to their children for any reason,” FDA Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. said in a statement.
Jeremy Kahn, a press officer for the FDA, tells Rolling Stone that the organization does not discuss potential or ongoing investigations or enforcement actions, but does point to a 2015 case when the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations looked into a Spokane, Washington man for selling industrial bleach as a miracle cure for numerous diseases and illnesses. “A federal jury found Louis Daniel Smith guilty on three counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud or mislead, among other charges,” Kahn says.
Given that the FDA recently received reports of people experiencing life-threatening conditions after drinking these products, the organization will continue to track those selling MMS and take appropriate enforcement actions when necessary. At this point, the organization is not aware of any scientific evidence supporting the safety or effectiveness of MMS products, despite claims that the solution is an antimicrobial, antiviral and antibacterial.
Instead of drinking a bleach solution sold over the internet, the FDA encourages people to discuss the treatment of their medical conditions with a healthcare professional.
“Our top priority is to protect the public from products that place their health at risk, and we will send a strong and clear message that these products have the potential to cause serious harm,” Sharpless said in a statement.
The biggest proponent of MMS is a group that calls itself the “Genesis II Church of Health and Healing.” Genesis II was co-founded by a former Scientologist named Jim Humble, who claims that he discovered the alleged healing powers of MMS in 1996, while on a gold mining expedition in South America. “Since that time, it has proven to restore partial or full health to hundreds of thousands of people suffering from a wide range of disease,” he wrote in a message on his website. Humble could not be reached for comment for this article.
Technically, anyone can make their own MMS; Humble even provides instructions for how to do so on his website. However, Genesis II acts as a major producer and supplier of the chemical solutions — which they refer to as “sacraments” — and urges people to purchase it directly from them as their staff has been trained in how to mix and administer MMS. An MMS starter kit — consisting of a four-ounce bottle of MMS (sodium chlorite) and a four-ounce bottle of hydrochloric acid — is available from their website for $20.
In response to the FDA’s latest warning, Bishop Mark Grenon, co-founder of Genesis II, sent the following statement to Rolling Stone: “What a joke this is. The real reason we are being attacked is we are curing 100% of the time the #1 killer in all world history – MALARIA! Merck and GlaxoSmithKline are trying to develop a vaccine for malaria! They have the public’s ears but the Lord is allowing the TRUTH to get out and now millions know! Guess who is involved in these Pharmacueticals [sic], Murdoch Family, Google and many others It is being done for pennies!”
Grenon also sent a rebuttal letter that he says he has been using to respond to media requests regarding the FDA’s consumer update on MMS. It details Genesis II’s position that the FDA is “a pay-to-play approving board for companies and not as an agency looking out for the health of people.” The letter goes on to claim that the FDA has approved the use of chlorine dioxide in many other scenarios, including to purify drinking water, treat buildings after an anthrax scare, kill black mold after Hurricane Katrina, and disinfect hospitals and gyms from MRSA, and other bacteria, fungi and viruses. “Do you understand why we are being attacked by media, FDA etc?,” the letter reads. “[MMS] works and it is cheap, and the medical/pharma industry does NOT want the truth out!”
In addition to promoting the use of MMS to treat everything from diabetes to Alzheimer’s to depression, Genesis II is also staunchly anti-vaccination, and urges members under the age of 12 to carry a card with them to prevent them from receiving unwanted vaccines. Like other anti-vaxxer groups, Genesis II has relied heavily on social media to spread their message. Kahn says that despite a previous 2010 FDA warning, “these products continue to be promoted online, specifically on social media.” This week’s release is an update of that warning, meant “to ensure consumers are warned not to use this product due to its potentially life-threatening side effects,” he explains.