Miracle Mineral Supplement
Miracle Mineral Supplement, often referred to as Miracle Mineral Solution, Master Mineral Solution, or MMS, is a toxic solution of 22.4% sodium chlorite in distilled water. The product contains essentially the same ingredient as industrial-strength bleach before "activation" with a food-grade acid. The name was first coined by Jim Humble in his 2006 self-published book, The Miracle Mineral Solution of the 21st Century. A more dilute version is marketed as Chlorine Dioxide Solution (CDS). MMS is falsely and dangerously promoted as a cure for HIV, malaria, hepatitis viruses, the H1N1 flu virus, common colds, autism, acne, cancer, and much more. There have been no clinical trials to provide evidence in support of these claims, which come only from anecdotal reports and Humble's book. In January 2010, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that one vendor admitted that they do not repeat any of Humble's claims in writing to circumvent regulations against using it as a medicine. Sellers sometimes describe MMS as a water purifier so as to circumvent medical regulations. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies rejected "in the strongest terms" reports by promoters of MMS that they had used the product to fight malaria.
When citric acid or other food acid is used to "activate" MMS as described in its instructions, the mixture produces an aqueous solution containing chlorine dioxide, a toxin and a potent oxidizing agent used in the treatment of water and in bleaching. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has set a maximum level of 0.8 mg/L for chlorine dioxide in drinking water. Naren Gunja, director of the New South Wales Poisons Information Centre, has stated that using the product is "a bit like drinking concentrated bleach" and that users have displayed symptoms consistent with corrosive injuries, such as vomiting, stomach pains, and diarrhea.
Sodium chlorite, the main constituent of MMS, is a toxic chemical that can cause acute renal failure if ingested. Small amounts of about 1 gram can be expected to cause nausea, vomiting and even life-threatening hemolysis in persons who are deficient in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.
Safety and legal issues
The Guardian has described MMS as "extremely nasty stuff, and the medical advice given is that anyone who has this product should stop using it immediately and throw it away. In Canada it was banned after causing a life-threatening reaction." In August 2009, a Mexican woman travelling with her American husband on their yacht in Vanuatu took MMS as a preventative for malaria. Within 15 minutes she was ill, and within twelve hours she was dead. The island nation's public prosecutor, Kayleen Tavoa, did not press any charges as there were no specific laws banning the importation of MMS, but advised, "While every case is assessed on its own merits, I advise that any person who misuses MMS in Vanuatu in the future would be likely to face prosecution for potentially serious criminal offences. No person should ever give MMS to another person to drink without advising them of what it is they are drinking and of the serious risks to health that may arise if they decide to drink the mixture."
In 2008, a 60-year-old Canadian man was hospitalized after a life-threatening response to MMS. Following a May 2010 advisory which indicated that MMS exceeds levels deemed to be safe by a factor of 200, a Calgary based supplier briefly stopped distribution. A February 2012 warning, which resulted in one website shutting down, advised: "There are no therapeutic products containing sodium chlorite authorized for oral consumption by humans in Canada." In the UK, the Food Standards Agency also has released a warning, following the initial warning from Health Canada and a similar warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in which they stated that "MMS is a 28% sodium chlorite solution which is equivalent to industrial-strength bleach. When taken as directed it could cause severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, potentially leading to dehydration and reduced blood pressure. If the solution is diluted less than instructed, it could cause damage to the gut and red blood cells, potentially resulting in respiratory failure." More dilute versions have potential to do harm, although it is less likely. The Food Standards Agency has since reiterated their warning on MMS and extended it to include CDS.
Sellers attribute the vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea to the product working, but it is simply the product's toxicity.
In December 2009, an alert was issued by the Belgian Poison Control Centre to the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists. In response, an evaluation was performed by the French "Comité de coordination de toxicovigilance" in March 2010, warning about a dose dependent irritation and possible toxic effects. They also warned that patients affected by serious diseases could be tempted to stop their treatments in favour of this alternative treatment. A similar notice was released in July 2010 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning that the instructions for preparing the solution by mixing it with an acidic solution, or even orange juice, would produce chlorine dioxide, "a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment." Because of reports including nausea, vomiting, and dangerously low blood pressure as a result of dehydration following instructed use, the FDA has advised consumers to dispose of the product immediately.
MMS is not approved for the treatment of any disease and according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, chronic exposure to small doses of chlorine dioxide could cause reproductive and neurodevelopmental damage. A short term study found no effects in hematological or urine chemistry or in physical symptoms in human volunteers over a period of 84 days. While studies of chlorine dioxide effects in humans are rare, studies on animal subjects are more common; chlorine dioxide has been shown to impair thyroid function and reduce CD4+ helper T cell count in grivet monkeys after 6 months. Another study in rats resulted in reduced red blood cells count when exposed to 100 mg/L of chlorine dioxide concentration in their drinking water, after 3 months. The United States Department of Labor restricts occupational exposure through inhalation of chlorine dioxide to 0.1 ppm since concentrations at 10 ppm resulted in deaths in rats, after 10 days while a case where a worker was accidentally exposed to 19 ppm resulted in death. According to the same organisation, "chlorine dioxide is a severe respiratory and eye irritant in humans".
MMS was a cure touted by an Australian couple targeting the Seattle area. They ran websites using fake testimonials (accompanied by sexy vignettes), photographs, and Seattle addresses, to promote downloadable books touted as containing secret cures as well as selling bottles labeled "water purification drops" with a brand name of "MMS Professional". The Washington State Attorney General's Office filed suit, and in conjunctions with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), secured a settlement of more than US$40,000, roughly $25,000 for state legal fees and $14,000 to be divided among 200 consumers. In the ACCC legal action, the presiding judge described the cures as quack medicine and found the claims on the websites "false, misleading or deceptive".
A woman from north Mackay, Australia, without qualifications to practice, charged up to A$2,000 to inject patients with MMS in her garage which lacked proper facilities for sterilization, and went as far as advising a person to avoid chemotherapy while "dishonestly promoting its benefits with no scientific basis for her claims". The Queensland Office of Fair Trading got a court order prohibiting her from "making any claims she is able to treat, cure, or benefit any person suffering from cancer" and she was charged court costs of A$12,000.
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