The FDA warn anyone with Miracle Mineral Solution to discard it.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) news briefing concerns a product called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), which is widely available on the internet.
The product appears under a number of names, including Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, Chlorine Dioxide Protocol, and Water Purification Solution.
Although the FDA have not approved the product, sellers promote it variously as antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial.
The product arrives as a liquid that is 28% sodium chlorite that makers have diluted in mineral water. Customers are directed to mix the solution with citric acid, which is present in lemon or lime juice, for instance.
Chlorine dioxide — an industrial bleach
Mixing the concoction with citric acid converts it into chlorine dioxide, which the FDA describe as a "powerful bleaching agent." In fact, paper mills often use chlorine dioxide to bleach paper, and water companies use the chemical to treat drinking water.
"[I]ngesting 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 Dr. Ned Sharpless
Individuals who have taken MMS have supplied reports to the FDA. The subsequent list of potential side effects includes severe vomiting and diarrhea, life threatening hypotension (low blood pressure), and liver failure.
Worryingly, some MMS labels claim that vomiting and diarrhea are positive signs that the mixture is working to heal people's ailments.
"The FDA will continue to track those selling this dangerous product and take appropriate enforcement actions against those who attempt to evade FDA regulations and market unapproved and potentially dangerous products to the American public," Dr. Sharpless continues.
"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."
Previous warnings about MMS
MMS is not a new product and has been on the market for more than a decade. Jim Humble, a Scientologist, "discovered" the substance and promoted it as a cure for autism and other conditions.
The FDA have published press releases about the chemical before. One release from 2010 warns that "[c]onsumers who have MMS should stop using it immediately and throw it away."
Further afield, a press release from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the United Kingdom, dating from 2015, warns that "[i]f the solution is diluted less than instructed, it could cause damage to the gut and red blood cells, potentially resulting in respiratory failure." The FSA also advise people with these products to "throw them away."
In their most recent press release, the FDA say that anyone who has "experienced an adverse health effect after ingesting this product should seek immediate medical attention." The authority also ask individuals to report adverse events through the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information program.