Hat tip to c*nty_mc_sh*tb*lls over on Reddit for this one.
Irish patients warned ‘miracle cure’ from US church is bleach
A CONTROVERSIAL American Church which is coming to Ireland this weekend is promising a “miracle” cure for patients – but it is, in fact, industrial-strength bleach…On its website it is advertising the event as including access to its “miracle mineral solution” which, it claims, can “remove” a number of serious conditions including cancer, HIV and autism. However, the product – which is also known as MMS – has been banned in a number of countries including the US and the UK because tests by health and food watchdogs identified it as an “industrial-strength bleach”.
You can basically use a check-list to evaluate this type of story:
- “Church“: check
- “American“: check
- “miracle“: check
- “[cure for] cancer“: check
- “[and for] HIV“: ditto check
- “[and for] autism“: another check
Even the lower-order stuff is in there:
- “mineral“: check
- “solution“: check
- Use of the word “remove” instead of “cure”: check
Oh, and let’s not forget the obvious:
- “industrial strength bleach“: very much a check
Here’s Wikipedia putting it rather bluntly:
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.
Well, perhaps the Genesis II Church people’s hearts are in the right place. For example, I’m guessing that, as a church, these guys are doing all this for charity?
It is understood that those planning to attend the seminar over the weekend will be asked to pay a €295 compulsory donation.
Hmm. So that’s a maybe.
Those of you unable to make it to Dublin for the weekend need not fret. You can in fact purchase your industrial-strength-bleach-to-be-taken-orally-to-cure-cancer online. And you can read all about it in this book, available on Amazon.
Note the way the chemical abbreviation of this miracle solution — NaClO2 — is used as a leitmotif in the design language of the cover. Isn’t that cool? You see, science is good after all.
Except that NaClO2 is just good-old sodium chlorite. Wikipedia again:
Sodium chlorite is a strong oxidant and can therefore be expected to cause clinical symptoms similar to the well known sodium chlorate: methemoglobinemia, hemolysis, renal failure. A dose of 10-15 grams of sodium chlorate can be lethal.
But is it miraculous though?
Sodium chlorite, like many oxidizing agents, should be protected from inadvertent contamination by organic materials to avoid the formation of an explosive mixture. The chemical is highly stable in pure form and does not explode on percussive impact (unless organic contaminants are present, e.g. a greasy hammer striking the chemical on an anvil) and will also ignite if combined with a strong reducing agent…The free acid, chlorous acid, HClO2, is only stable at low concentrations. Since it cannot be concentrated, it is not a commercial product. However, the corresponding sodium salt, sodium chlorite, NaClO2 is stable and inexpensive enough to be commercially available. The corresponding salts of heavy metals (Ag+, Hg+, Tl+, Pb2+, and also Cu2+ and NH4+) decompose explosively with heat or shock.
Hmm. So that’s a maybe.
I guess the message underlying all this is that this stuff is good. Really good. We should just drink the stuff up if we want to cure cancer, autism, or HIV, for example. The religion bit is less clear to me, but it’s definitely in there somewhere. You can go to the Genesis II Church’s own website for the details, and for lots, and lots — and lots — of testimonials. And then completely disregard them (as I don’t particularly want to be sued).
‘Miracle’ Mineral Supplement.
The clue is in the title.
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.