Industrial bleach is being sold on Amazon through its product pages which consumers are buying under the mistaken belief that it is a “miracle cure” for Covid-19, despite health warnings from the US Food and Drug Administration that drinking the fluid can kill.
The chlorine dioxide solutions are being sold on the Amazon platform under the brand name CD Kit and NatriChlor. Third-party sellers signal the bleach as a “water treatment” and include legal disclaimers that the liquid is “not marketed for internal use”.
But comments from Amazon customers under the review section of the pages tell a different story. Users discuss how many drops of bleach they are imbibing and explain they are drinking the chemical which they call MMS to “disinfect ourselves”, a phrase that echoes Donald Trump’s controversial remarks in April that injections of disinfectant could cure Covid-19.
One purchaser, writing in Spanish, said his family had started taking bleach soon after the coronavirus pandemic hit the US. “Many people still don’t believe in it, but I am sure that it has helped us a lot,” he said.
Another Amazon customer wrote: “My mom who is 77 got Corona, Covid, and had a whole body-ache stomach upset, very extreme headache, fatigue … Well, she started taking MMS and NOT KIDDING you, she was practically half better the NEXT day and the day after she was totally good!!”
The bleach that is being sold on the Amazon marketplace is typically used in industrial processes including textile manufacturing and bleaching of pulp and paper. In small doses it can be used to disinfect water, but the concentrations being advocated by pushers of MMS – “miracle mineral solution” – are well above safety levels.
Proponents of MMS falsely claim that it is a cure-all for almost all diseases, including malaria, HIV/Aids, cancer and now Covid-19. They also market it untruthfully as a cure for the condition autism.
Since the start of the pandemic, the FDA has been trying to clamp down on fraudulent dealers of quack remedies claiming to protect against the virus. Last August the agency issued a strong health warning that MMS bleach products could be life-threatening.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers has recorded more than 16,000 cases of chlorine dioxide poisoning, including 2,500 cases of children under 12. Many of those individuals suffered serious side effects, the group noted, including a six-year-old autistic girl who three years ago required hospital treatment for liver failure.
Several deaths of people drinking bleach marketed as a “miracle cure” have been reported across South America, including in Argentina where a five-year-old boy was reported to have died in August having been given chlorine dioxide as a Covid cure.
In the past, Amazon has removed from its platform several pro-MMS books, including those by the founder of the movement, Jim Humble. He claimed to have discovered that chlorine dioxide cures malaria while on a gold mining expedition in the Guyana jungle in 1996.
Amazon in March promised to crack down on product listings that cash-in on false remedies for Covid-19. But third-party sellers are still finding ways to peddle potentially dangerous products on the site.
Amazon did not immediately respond to Guardian questions about the sale of the bleach on its platform.
Fiona O’Leary, a campaigner against MMS based in Ireland, said she was “shocked and heartbroken that Amazon is still selling this product. The FDA is prosecuting producers of bleach, but now we have Amazon selling it. How can this be happening?”
The CD Kit and Natrichlor bleach products currently on sale through Amazon are made by KVLAB, which is linked to Keavy’s Corner, an online shop based in Lake Placid, Florida. In a business listing, Keavy’s Corner describes itself as specializing in “chlorine dioxide products for consumer use”.
In an email to the Guardian, the owner of Keavy’s Corner, Steve Pardee, said that he began selling the product for cleaning dog kennels and equine use. He denied ever having claimed that chlorine dioxide is a cure, and stressed that he had nothing to do with the third-party sellers touting his wares on Amazon.
“I have never advocated human consumption. My listings for all these items have included links to FDA warnings since 2013,” he said.
Documents show that Pardee was active on the “MMS Forum”, an online community of advocates of bleach as a miracle cure, as recently as last year. In 2012 he was involved in preparing an approved list of MMS suppliers, and said in one post: “I started making MMS in 2008.”
Pardee told the Guardian that back in 2012 he had “offered safety and technical advice” to a forum run by Genesis II, a one-time leading provider of bleach miracle cures in the US run by the Grenon family. Mark Grenon, the head of the family, and his son Joseph were arrested and charged by the FDA last month in Columbia and are awaiting extradition to the US, while two other sons are also in jail facing similar charges in Florida.
Pardee said he had cut ties with Genesis back in 2013 or 2014 and had nothing to do with them. But he did join a discussion on the MMS Forum in March 2019 in which members discussed changing the name from Miracle Mineral Solution to WPS, an acronym for Water Purification Solution.
The name change would help them “hide from the wolves and hyenas targeting MMS,” as one user put it.
Pardee contributed to that conversation with the comment that “people who deal in any alternative health items need to be very careful of the language they choose. It all boils down to words. If you simply sell a chemical, and let people be educated elsewhere, they will find you when they know what they are looking for.”