People Are Still Drinking Bleach

People Are Still Drinking Bleach
August 15 12:40 2019 Print This Article

ARS TECHNICA (Beth Mole 14 August 2019) The US Food and Drug Administration this week released an important health warning that everyone should heed: drinking bleach is dangerous—potentially life-threatening—and you should not do it.

The warning may seem unnecessary, but guzzling bleach is an unfortunately persistent problem. Unscrupulous sellers have sold “miracle” bleach elixirs for decades, claiming that they can cure everything from cancer to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, flu, hair loss, and more. Some have promoted it to parents as a way to cure autism in children—prompting many allegations of child abuse.

Of course, the health claims are false, not to mention abhorrent. When users prepare the solution as instructed, it turns into the potent bleaching agent chlorine dioxide, which is an industrial cleaner. It’s toxic to drink and can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, life-threatening low blood pressure, acute liver failure, and damage to the digestive tract and kidneys.

In this week’s warning, the FDA noted that some sellers will warn consumers that vomiting and diarrhea are common but say that those unpleasant effects indicate the solution is “working.”

“That claim is false,” the FDA wrote succinctly.

The agency released a nearly identical warning back in 2010. But in this week’s consumer alert, the agency said that it has continued to receive “many reports” of consumers sickened by these bleach-based potions.

According to a June investigation by NBC News, poison control centers across the country have seen 16,500 cases involving chlorine dioxide since 2014. At least 50 of those cases were deemed life-threatening. Eight people died.

Online stain

The FDA says that the products have been hard to scrub out because of claims on social media, where the drinks are promoted along with false health information. Most of the claims can be traced back to Jim Humble, founder and “archbishop” of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, aka “The Church of Bleach.”

Humble has been touting the solution for nearly two decades, referring to it as MMS—Miracle or Master Mineral Solution. (It’s also known as the Miracle Mineral Supplement, the Chlorine Dioxide (CD) Protocol, and Water Purification Solution (WPS).) Humble is a former Scientologist who reportedly claims to be a billion-year-old god from the Andromeda galaxy.

He promotes the bleaching agent as an official religious sacrament that “has the potential to overcome most diseases known to mankind.” Church member Kerri Rivera (reportedly a bishop in the church) explicitly touted MMS enemas to parents as a cure for autism. Rivera claims that the solution kills pathogens in the intestines that cause autism (autism has no known “cure” and is not caused by pathogens in the gut).

The Church disputes that MMS is bleach, noting that it is not the same as the liquid bleach one might buy in a grocery store, which is sodium hypochlorite. But “bleach” is actually a generic term used to describe many stain-fighting chemical products, which often are chlorine based and work by strong oxidation reactions.

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