At the beginning of the pandemic, many experts began to warn about the potential risks of an infodemic, that is, the overabundance of ambiguous, inaccurate and even erroneous information, which can put the physical and mental health of the population at risk.
In this context, the “miraculous” use of chlorine dioxide, a yellow or yellow-reddish gas that decomposes rapidly in the air and is used as a bleach in paper factories or plants that produce drinking water, was promoted. It is also used to decontaminate public buildings.
Chlorine dioxide can dissolve in water and form sodium chlorites, both of which are compounds that react quickly with other substances.
This high reactivity allows it to eliminate bacteria and other microorganisms. For this reason, different companies began to commercialize deceptive and dangerous medicinal products based on chlorine dioxide, enhancing its antiviral and antibacterial properties.
In 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its first warnings to consumers about these products, which are known as MMS, which stands for: Miracle Mineral Solution, Master Mineral Solution, Supplement Miraculous Mineral.
Those who market these dangerous products also claim (without scientific support) that they work effectively to treat a wide variety of conditions, such as autism, cancer, flu, hepatitis, or HIV / AIDS.
Chlorine dioxide hazard
Since the pandemic began, COVID has become a new promise on the list of diseases that chlorine dioxide-based remedies promise to treat.
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The “miracle mineral solution” consists of a liquid that contains 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water. The instructions for these products explain that the solution should be mixed with citric acid, for example lemon juice, or another type of acid before drinking.
The objective of this mixture is to convert the product into chlorine dioxide and thus “prevent the virus from entering the body, or alleviate symptoms in those who are already infected.”
The truth is that chlorine dioxide and sodium chlorite react quickly in water and in body tissues. This exposure was recorded to cause:
- Low blood count
- Acute liver failure.
- Irritation in the mouth, esophagus or stomach.
- Low blood pressure.
- Breathing problems or shortness of breath.
- Problems with the blood carrying oxygen throughout the body.
- Abnormal or lethal rhythms of the heart.
Chlorine dioxide is used as a disinfectant as it decomposes rapidly in air, while in water it becomes sodium chlorite.
For this reason, it is that many specialists did not consider possible exposure to this compound a serious problem, provided that the recommended care was respected when handling it.
With the new trend of consuming it voluntarily, the situation changed and the intake of chlorine dioxide became a real problem for the health authorities.
Warnings were issued to companies marketing deceptive and dangerous chlorine dioxide products for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19, the FDA reported.
“We continue to take action and maintain our efforts to monitor fraudulent treatment during this health emergency, and remind the public to seek medical help from their health care providers,” said Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of Health, MD in mid-2020. the FDA.
Another measure to discourage this practice was seen in Mexico, where some insurers reported that associates diagnosed with COVID-19 who are shown to have ingested chlorine dioxide will be out of medical coverage.
This warning also extends to cases that present complications related to the use of chlorine dioxide as a preventive measure against COVID.
In Colombia, the National Institute of Food and Drug Surveillance (Invima) assured that it did not receive requests to carry out clinical studies on the safety and efficacy of chlorine dioxide in the treatment of COVID-19.
He also warned that chlorine dioxide is not recognized as a medicine by any health agency, nor is it included in the pharmacological standard.
Due to the circulation of information in networks and digital media about the benefits of consuming chlorine dioxide (especially against the coronavirus), the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology of Argentina (ANMAT) also recalled that the product or its solutions are not They have studies that demonstrate their effectiveness and they do not have their authorization to be marketed.
The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), warned that the consumption of sodium chlorite and chlorine dioxide solutions poses a serious risk to health and is not recommended under any circumstances.
To date, chlorine dioxide or sodium chlorite solutions have not been proven safe or effective for any treatment.
Its ingestion or inhalation can cause serious adverse effects, so it is advisable to avoid it and follow the recommendations of specialists to prevent any type of problem.
Sources consulted: US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization.