On Monday, the United States Food And Drug Administration issued a terse warning: “If you’re drinking ‘Miracle’ or ‘Master’ Mineral Solution or other sodium chlorite products, stop now.”
In October 2018, the FDA documented two reports of individuals who had adverse reactions after using Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) to treat autism and influenza. The consumers documented their reactions to the treatments as life-threatening and disabling, which is not surprising, considering that MMS is an industrial disinfectant and bleaching agent.
"Our priority is to warn consumers not to use this product due to its potentially life-threatening side effects."
MMS is the “sacrament” of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing but was first popularized by former Scientologist Jim Humble in a 2006 self-published book. Among the tenets of the Genesis II Church are “doing good deeds, helping one another,” and “good health for mankind.” It also advocates against vaccinations and x-rays, claiming its Miracle Mineral Solution will cure autism, HIV, influenza, cancer, and more.
“At the Genesis, we are now receiving 10-15 testimonies weekly coming in from all over the world of people being CURED of all kinds of illnesses following the G2Church Sacraments and that is what they are; ‘sacred to us’,” the Colombia-based Genesis II co-founder Mark Grenon tells Inverse in an email.
The FDA warns that these claims are unfounded and extremely dangerous.
“Our priority is to warn consumers not to use this product due to its potentially life-threatening side effects,” FDA spokesperson Jeremy Kahn tells Inverse. Grenon responded to the FDA’s statements by calling the organization a “pay to play” approving board.
A “G2 Sacramental Kit” containing 4-ounce bottles of MMS and its “activator” — hydrochloric acid — sells for $20 on the church’s website. MMS is 22.4 to 28 percent sodium chlorite, a chemical used to purify water and clean surfaces before food prep. When MMS is mixed with the acid, according to package directions, the product becomes chlorine dioxide, a potent bleaching agent. Patients are instructed to either drink the solution, bathe in it, or use it in an enema.
“The bottom line: Sodium chlorite products are dangerous, and you and your family should not use them,” the FDA said in its August 12 statement.
"To be useful in the body, it has to kill germs, but not kill the body."
The FDA notes that chlorine dioxide can be used in low concentrations as a rinse for poultry and fruits and vegetables, and as a water purifier. That’s because it’s a powerful disinfectant. “It kills germs,” Stephen Barrett, M.D., a retired psychologist who operates Quackwatch, tells Inverse. “To be useful in the body, it has to kill germs, but not kill the body.”
The FDA says there are no known medical benefits of ingesting chlorine dioxide, and some of the side effects of drinking MMS include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe dehydration, and extremely low blood pressure.
MMS hawkers are well aware of its toxicity. In 2015, a federal judge sentenced a MMS marketer, Louis Daniel Smith, to 51 months in prison after a jury convicted him of fraud, smuggling, conspiracy, and selling misbranded drugs. According to the Department of Justice, Smith set up a fake water purification business to get access to sodium chlorite for his organization, Project GreenLife, which sold MMS over the internet. In his instructions for use, Smith said nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting were all signs that the product was working, and even said pregnant women and infants should take the product.
Other MMS marketers around the world, including those in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, have faced prison time. In June, a Guardian investigation reported that Robert Baldwin, a pastor from New Jersey, formed a network of churches in Uganda under his ministry, Global Healing. The Guardian found that Baldwin gave MMS to upwards of 50,000 Ugandan residents, including 14-month-old children.
"There’s a tug of war between the ability to have a society with Freedom of Speech and the ability to protect people."
This weekend, the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing will hold a seminar in Eden, New York. Grenon declined to comment about the specifics of the seminar but says: “Our Church service will NOT be interfered with as declared in the U.S. Constitution.” Grenon asserts the seminar is protected under the first amendment.
The FDA recommends that anyone who has had a negative reaction to MMS or similar products should call their doctor immediately.
Barrett, who says he has been pondering what can be done to stop harmful alternative treatments for 50 years, says the only way to stymie the pseudoscience tide is to cut down the marketing of these products and punish the people that do it. “There’s a tug of war between the ability to have a society with Freedom of Speech and the ability to protect people,” he says.