FDA Issues Warning for Chlorine Dioxide Products Claiming to Treat COVID-19

April 8, 2020

Officials with the FDA issued a warning letter to a company marketing fraudulent and dangerous chlorine dioxide products for the prevention and treatment of novel coronavirus disease 2019.

Officials with the FDA issued a warning letter to a company marketing fraudulent and dangerous chlorine dioxide products for the prevention and treatment of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to a press release.1

The product, known as “Miracle Mineral Solution,” is being sold online and marketed as a medical treatment, despite having no scientific evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of its use. The FDA has previously issued a warning to consumers urging them to stop drinking such chlorine dioxide products after receiving reports of the products making people sick.2

The agency issued the joint warning letter with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to Genesis II Church of Health and Healing for selling chlorine dioxide products with fraudulent claims that the products can treat or prevent COVID-19 in both adults and children.

Despite having harmful effects and no evidence to back their use, chlorine dioxide products continue to be sold as a remedy for treating autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and flu, among other conditions, according to the FDA.

Websites selling chlorine dioxide products describe it as a liquid that is 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water. Product directions instruct consumers to mix the solution with citric acid, such as lemon or lime juice, or another acid, such as hydrochloric acid, before drinking. When the acid is added, the mixture becomes chlorine dioxide, which is a powerful bleaching agent that can cause serious and potentially life-threatening adverse effects (AEs).

The FDA has received reports of serious AEs after drinking these products, including respiratory failure, QT prolongation, life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration, acute liver failure, low blood cell counts, severe vomiting, and severe diarrhea.

“Despite previous warnings, the FDA is concerned that we are still seeing chlorine dioxide products being sold with misleading claims that they are safe and effective for the treatment of diseases, now including COVID-19,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, said in a statement. “The sale of these products can jeopardize a person’s health and delay proper medical treatment. We continue to take action and keep up our efforts to monitor for fraudulent treatments during this public health emergency and remind the public to seek medical help from their health care providers.”

References:

1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Warns Seller Marketing Dangerous Chlorine Dioxide Products that Claim to Treat or Prevent COVID-19. News Release. FDA; April 8, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-warns-seller-marketing-dangerous-chlorine-dioxide-products-claim

2. Danger: Don’t Drink Miracle Mineral Solution or Similar Products. Consumer Updates. FDA; August 12, 2019. Accessed April 8, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/danger-dont-drink-miracle-mineral-solution-or-similar-products.