It's OK to believe in miracles, but drinking bleach for your ailments isn't going to lead to one. That's effectively what people are doing when they quaff a product known as Miracle Mineral Solution, and other products like it that promise a cure for autism, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, flu, and other conditions, the Food and Drug Administration warns. NBC News notes such sodium chlorite elixirs, which turn into chlorine dioxide when mixed with citric acid activating agents, are often marketed on social media, without FDA approval and with potentially fatal side effects. "Ingesting these products is the same as drinking bleach," Ned Sharpless, the agency's acting commissioner, says in a release. "Consumers should not use these products, and parents should not give these products to their children for any reason."
The FDA, which has warned about the danger of such products for nearly a decade, says it has received new reports of side effects that include severe vomiting and diarrhea, acute liver failure, and dangerously low blood pressure from dehydration. NBC notes poison control centers have handled more than 16,000 cases over the last five years, with dozens of life-threatening scenarios and eight actual fatalities. In a 2015 report, Vice noted the "cure" had become popular in the anti-vaccination community, with kids being plied with it amid a "witches' brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia." NBC notes the product was first pushed about 20 years ago by an ex-Scientologist. In addition to Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, the products are sold under names such as Water Purification Solution (WPS), Miracle Mineral Supplement, and Chlorine Dioxide (CD) Protocol.