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August 15, 2019

A supposed 'cure' for autism, cancer is actually a 'dangerous bleach,' FDA warns

Daily Briefing

    FDA on Monday warned patients not to drink certain solutions being marketed as cures for autism, cancer, HIV/AIDs, and other diseases and conditions, saying the solutions become a "dangerous bleach" when mixed with citric acids.

    FDA warns patients not to drink certain 'mineral' solutions marketed as cures

    FDA on Monday said the agency had first warned patients against drinking such solutions—including Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide (CD) Protocol, and Water Purification Solution (WPS)—in 2010. However, FDA said the products, which the agency has not approved for any use, continue to be advertised and sold online as medical treatments.

    There have been a number of reports of patients using the solutions as treatments for autism, cancer, malaria, and HIV. For example, NBC News in June reported that a Kansas mother in social media posts wrote that she fed her adult son with autism one of the solutions as a treatment. Similarly, The Guardian in July reported that a British man faces criminal charges for administering illicit clinical trials that gave Ugandan villagers such solutions as treatments for a variety of diseases and conditions.

    The solutions typically contain sodium chlorite and distilled water, and come with instructions directing consumers to mix the solution with a citric acid, such as lemon or lime juice. FDA said independent distributors of the products claim the mixed solutions are an "antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial" treatment, but the agency noted that those claims are "false" and "dangerous" because ingesting the mixed solution is comparable to drinking bleach and can have serious and potentially deadly side effects.

    For example, FDA said patients have experienced acute liver failure, life-threatening low blood pressure, and severe diarrhea and vomiting as a result of the solutions. FDA said a total of seven patients who have consumed Miracle Mineral Solution have died between 2009 and 2018, and at least 20 patients have reported serious or life-threatening side effects.

    FDA advised patients who have experienced side effects after drinking the mixed solutions to consult a health care provider.


    Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said, "Consumers should not use these products, and parents should not give these products to their children for any reason." He said FDA will track the companies marketing and selling the products and "take appropriate enforcement actions."

    But Peter Lurie, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, warned that distributors "can move incredibly quickly," adding, "They can put up the website much more quickly than the FDA can act to take it down. The FDA is always playing catch-up."

    Experts have said patients might be underreporting side effects they have experienced from using the mixed solutions, because the products' labels list diarrhea and vomiting as common side effects. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist and medical director at the National Capital Poison Center, said, "This is a pretty rare exposure, and that might be that people are afraid of being judged. All this data is underreported, because somebody has to decide to call the poison center or make the report to the FDA."

    Thomas Frazier, chief science officer at Autism Speaks, said, "Unfortunately, there are a large number of online groups that spread general misinformation about autism. These range from fairly benign observations about diet that lack evidence to 'miracle cures' that could carry significant risk" (Budryk, The Hill, 8/12; Gilmour, McClatchy/Miami Herald, 8/12; Hauser, New York Times, 8/13; FDA release, 8/12; Mwesigwa, The Guardian, 7/30).

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