[W:Miracle Mineral Supplement] is the brand name given by Jim Humble to a solution of acidified sodium chlorite – an industrial bleaching agent used in water purification and other applications. Humble first promoted this through a self-published book ” Miracle Mineral Solution of the 21st Century”, and he touts it as a cure for AIDS, malaria, cancer and pretty much anything else.
When combined with an acidic “activator” as Humble recommends the sodium chlorite becomes [W:chlorine dioxide].
Does it work?
No. There is absolutely no independent scientific evidence whatsoever to support Humble’s claims. Needless to say proponents say this is due to the Big Pharma Conspiracy, the standard fallback of those who are promoting quack remedies with no scientific basis and no likelihood of ever acquiring any.
In one case in Australia a couple who had been seling MMS with Humble’s indications were prosecuted and the health claims found to be entirely false and without foundation. Websites selling MMS have been shut down, all “evidence” of “suppression” by those big farmers.
Is it dangerous?
Yes. Even the uncritical sites that promote this quack remedy speak of managing the nausea it induces, often culminating in vomiting, burning of the throat, and in at least one case, it is claimed, death. Acute sodium chlorite poisoning can cause kidney failure.
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. – Food and Drug Administration
You would think that it would not be necessary to tell people that drinking bleach is not a great idea, but the fans of MMS will have no truck with such blinkered views and hysterically demand proof that it is dangerous. Point to the support group forums and tales of nausea, vomiting, bleeding and pain, and they will simply assert that this is the toxins being expelled. It’s a particularly pernicious form of evangelical delusion. The results are predictable:
Ingestion of water treated with Miracle Mineral Solution (28% sodium chlorite solution) has been associated with two adverse reactions in Canada, including one life threatening reaction. Health Canada advises that oral consumption of sodium chlorite may cause health problems such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea or more serious problems such as, poisoning, kidney failure and harm to red blood cells that reduces the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, among others. – Health Canada
Here’s what a laboratory science site (with no axe to grind, this is generic information for people handling the substance) says about sodium chlorite:
Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Slightly hazardous in caseÂ of skin contact (corrosive). Prolonged exposure may result in skin burns and ulcerations. Over-exposure by inhalation may cause respiratory irritation. Severe over-exposure can result in death. Inflammation of the eye is characterized by redness,Â watering, and itching. Skin inflammation is characterized by itching, scaling, reddening, or, occasionally, blistering. Sciencelab.com
And once it becomes chlorine dioxide:
Chlorine dioxide is a severe respiratory and eye irritant in humans. Inhalation can produce coughing, wheezing, respiratory distress, and congestion in the lungs [Patnaik 1992]. Irritating effects in humans was intense at concentration levels of 5 ppm. Accidental exposure at 19 ppm of the gas inside a bleach tank resulted in the death of one worker (time of exposure is not specified) [ACGIH 1991]. Workers exposed for 5 years to average chlorine dioxide concentrations below 0.1 ppm but with excursions to higher concentrations had symptoms of eye and throat irritation, nasal discharge, cough, and wheezing; on bronchoscopy, bronchitis was observed in seven of the 12 workers [Clayton and Clayton 1982]. Concentrations of 0.25 ppm and less have been reported to worsen mild respiratory ailments [ACGIH 1991]. Two adults who ingested 250 ml of a 40 mg/l solution of chlorine dioxide experienced headache, nausea, abdominal discomfort, and lightheadedness within 5 minutes of ingestion. The symptoms disappeared within another 5 minutes [NLM]. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Domestos, the well-known domestic bleach used for cleaning the nation’s toilets, contains 4.5% sodium chlorite. MMS as supplied has been measured at up to 28% – for a “health” drink!
It was the aggressive reaction of fans of MMS and the inexplicable unwillingness of forum moderators to allow their delusion to be questioned that brought teenaged blogger [W:Rhys Morgan] to prominence, an incident known as “bleachgate” (BBC story).
Let’s close with the conclusions of the coroner’s inquest into the death of Silvia Fink. For context, Within 15 minutes of drinking the mixture, Ms Fink Solis became extremely sick. Her condition never improved. In the early evening of 8 August 2009, she fell into a coma and, at about 10.00 pm that night, she was pronounced dead (report):
”From almost the moment she drank the mixture of MMS with lime juice that she’d brewed up according to the instructions â€¦ she began to be nauseated, and soon was vomiting and on the toilet having diarrhoea.
”But she thought, because the literature that came with the MMS kit emphasised that these were normal symptoms, that one just had to grin and bear it when first using the substance. How wrong we were. It turned into torture the whole day, with her getting gradually worse and worse, having incredible abdominal pains, then urinary pains.
”I’d been helping her all day, bathing her, emptying the bucket, comforting her, trying to get liquids down her, all to no avail because she could not keep anything down. Eventually, about the time it was getting dark, she started having feelings that she was going to faint. That’s when I became fully alarmed. I got on the VHF radio and called for assistance.
”At that moment she suddenly went into a coma. Then I put out another radio call, this time an emergency one for immediate medical help. Fellow cruisers rushed to our boat within minutes to aid me, and for over an hour we conducted emergency CPR and administered oxygen but it, and an adrenaline shot administered by a physician who finally arrived from the village, failed to revive her.
”And she died on Windcastle around 9pm, just 12 hours after she’d taken that fatal drink of MMS.”
So to the coroner’s findings:
After ruling out all other possible causes for Fink’s death, according to Skane [of the Vanuatu Daily Post], methemoglobin found in the blood was at a â€œsignificantly highâ€ level (45%) according to Ms. Fink’s autopsy report.
Skane reported that Australian Federal Police wrote in a memo to Vanuatu Police:
Methemoglobin basically results in the inability of blood to carry oxygen within the body causing cyanosis (lack of oxygen to the system). The [autopsy] report states that if the 45% saturation reading was accurate and existed at the time of death, then the symptoms could be consistent with being caused by methemoglobinemia and therefore a possible cause of death. Most cases of methemoglobinemia are caused by exposure to drugs or toxic substances including chlorate and chloriteâ€.
And yes, this is one of the side effects of MMS, according to the various forums.
What do the experts say?
- Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS): Product as consumed produces a potent bleach – [W:Food and Drug Administration]
- Warning over Miracle Mineral Solution – WebMD
- Warning against consumption of Miracle Mineral Solution – [W:Food Standards Agency]
- Health Risks Associated with Use of Miracle Mineral Solution – [W:Health Canada]
Amazingly, then, it seems that a miracle cure-all has not in fact been discovered by a former gold prospector with no medical or scientific training; instead, he has invented a health scam. This is believed never to have happened before, apart form all the other times a “lone maverick” claimed to have invented a miracle cure-all.
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