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'Miracle' Treatment Turns into Potent Bleach

Consumers are being warned not to drink a product sold on the Internet as a medical treatment after some users got sick after drinking it—including one person who had a life threatening reaction.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the product—known as Miracle Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, and MMS—becomes a potent chemical that’s used as a bleach when mixed according to package directions. The agency first warned consumers about the product in July, but federal regulators say it’s still available for sale on the Internet.

FDA says the product is sold by many independent distributors on several websites and through online auctions. Consumers should be alert when buying such an item on the Internet because the product’s labeling, colors, and logos may vary.

According to FDA experts, drinking the amount recommended on product labels can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration. Some labels claim vomiting and diarrhea are not uncommon after the product is ingested—and even maintain such reactions are evidence MMS is working.

FDA experts say MMS is dangerous, and they’re advising consumers to stop using the product immediately.

Dangerous Mixture

Distributor websites describe MMS as a liquid that’s 28 percent sodium chlorite in distilled water. Product directions tell consumers to mix the sodium chlorite solution with citric acid—such as, lemon or lime juice—or another acid before drinking. When the acid is added, the mixture becomes chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleaching agent, says FDA expert Charles Lee, M.D.

Lee says both chemicals are the active ingredients in disinfectants, and they have many other industrial uses.

Some distributors claim MMS mixed with citric acid is an antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial liquid that is a remedy for colds, acne, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, H1N1 flu, and other conditions. But FDA experts say they aren’t aware of any research that shows the product can effectively treat any illnesses.

Severe Reactions

FDA has received several reports of consumers who got sick from drinking the MMS and citrus juice mixture. The reports say consumers suffered from nausea, severe vomiting, and life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration.

FDA officials are urging anyone who has had a negative reaction to consult a health care professional as soon as possible. Consumers and health care professionals should report negative side effects to FDA’s MedWatch program at 800-FDA-1088 or online using the MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form.

This article appears on FDA's Consumer Health Information Web page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Posted: October 1, 2010

For more about food, medicine, cosmetic safety and other topics for your health, visit FDA.gov/ForConsumers.
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