Drinking bleach will not cure autism, cancer or AIDS, FDA warns amid reports of people falling ill

Some people are reportedly drinking bleach products in the hopes that it will cure them of a myriad of diseases, including autism, cancer, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue a warning Monday that doing so is not only dangerous, but potentially life-threatening.

This isn't the first time that the FDA has had to urge consumers not to ingest sodium chlorite products — the agency has been doing so since 2010 — but because these products continue to be sold online and marketed on social media as medical "treatments," consumers are still using them to treat ailments and diseases and many are getting sick as a result.

The renewed warning from the FDA comes in response to new reports the agency has received that people are experiencing severe vomiting, severe diarrhea, life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration and acute liver failure after consuming these products.

"Some distributors are making false—and dangerous—claims that Miracle Mineral Supplement mixed with citric acid is an antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial liquid that is a remedy for autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, flu, and other conditions," the FDA warns. "The FDA is not aware of any research showing that these products are safe or effective for treating any illness."

Sodium chlorite products such as Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide (CD) Protocol and Water Purification Solution (WPS) become a strong bleaching chemical when mixed according to package directions.

Product directions instruct users to mix sodium chlorite solution into a citric acid, such as lemon or lime juice, before drinking the mixture. Many sodium chlorite products are sold with a citric acid "activator," which mixes with the acid to make chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleaching agent.

The EPA specifies that chlorine dioxide can be used as an additive to drinking water to help destroy bacteria, viruses and parasites as long as the content is .8 parts per million or less. Anything above that level can cause nervous system defects in infants and children, as well as anemia. In higher concentrations, the adverse side effects are much worse.

Drinking chlorine dioxide products can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and symptoms of severe dehydration, and can also be fatal. Some product labels list vomiting and diarrhea as common side effects and state that having such reactions means the product is working effectively.

"That claim is false," the FDA said definitively.

"The FDA's drug approval process ensures that patients receive safe and effective drug products. Miracle Mineral Solution and similar products are not FDA-approved, and ingesting these products is the same as drinking bleach. Consumers should not use these products, and parents should not give these products to their children for any reason," said FDA Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D.

"The FDA will continue to track those selling this dangerous product and take appropriate enforcement actions against those who attempt to evade FDA regulations and market unapproved and potentially dangerous products to the American public."

This story was reported from Los Angeles.