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.What kind of society have we evolved that it becomes necessary to warn the public - repeatedly - not to drink bleach because someone has suggested they do so??
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 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.