Every now and again, I hear something which makes me so aghast that I really don’t know what to think. The so called “Miracle Mineral Solution” which I heard of today was exactly one of those things. Aghast, perhaps, but this seemed like bad news from the moment I heard of it.
I’m not a very vocal skeptic. I’m no less skeptical a thinker than anyone else who works in science should be. I just usually choose to leave the calling out of crackpottery and other such shenanigans to the lots and lots and lots of people who are, frankly, far better at it than I am. This time though…
Abbreviated to MMS, this so-called Miracle Mineral Solution (really, anything with the word “miracle” in the name just screams fraud – which may be why it’s apparently been renamed to “master mineral solution” now) is too concerning to remain silent about. It’s actually quite harmful. In a nutshell, it’s a drinking water treatment. You’re supposed to add it to your water before you drink it. Except that this stuff is 28% sodium chlorite solution! Even diluted, this stuff will make industrial grade bleach. Homeopathy might be harmless nonsense, but this is actually a case of people being advised to add poison to their drinking water.
Let’s clear up something here, shall we? Lots of chemical compounds contain chlorine, and they can be hugely different. In the same way that the same atoms which make the proteins in your skin can also make deadly poisons like hydrogen cyanide, chlorine and sodium make a lot of different things. Except that a lot more of them are rather nasty. Shown here, are a bunch of chemical compounds. Note the subtle differences in the names. Note also that they’re all potentially harmful in some way.
Firstly, that sodium chlorite. It’s nasty stuff. It destroys hemoglobin in your blood, before actually destroying blood cells, and finally causing kidney failure. 10-15 grams of this chemical can be deadly in healthy adults. In people who, due to medical conditions or treatments, are deficient in an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, as little as 1 gram of this chemical may be fatal. So ok, it’s likely to live up to its claim of killing viruses and bacteria. Because it’s poison. And that’s what poison does.
Its toxic brethren are no better. Sodium hypochlorite is found in household bleach. You use it in your toilet to kill bacteria. The strongest household bleaches are under 5% solutions (as opposed to the 28% solution of MMS). Sodium chlorate used to be used as a weedkiller because it’s lethal to all plants. This was before it was banned in the EU. It’s also poisonous in much the same way as sodium chlorite. Finally, sodium perchlorate is not only harmful but also potentially explosive. Nice.
Sodium chloride is more familiar. It’s table salt. You put it on your chips. But excessive salt can still have some very bad effects on your health. What’s more, even seawater is only about 3.5% salt. Which is dramatically less than 28%!
Basically, MMS is people selling deadly poison to people and telling them to drink it. When used in laboratories, this chemical is kept under special conditions with some serious warning labels attached. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) literally says “Do not ingest”, “Severe over-exposure can result in death”, and “If ingested, seek medical advice immediately”. I’m quoting directly here. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself.
Of course, people don’t normally check safety precautions for things they’re told to ingest. Because they shouldn’t have to. People shouldn’t be sold poison and told to drink it. This is reprehensible and inhumane.
Seriously, can we say “Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations 2002″? Anyone?