Mysterious death after taking miracle cure

A woman has died after taking an alternative medicine supplement known as Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) a form of bleach (chlorine dioxide) marketed as a miracle cure-all.

The supplement was invented by American Jim Humble, who describes himself variously as a scientist, prospector and saviour of the human race who discovered the substance’s powers while looking for gold in a South American rainforest in 1996. A 2007 promotion described his quest as ‘this man heroically stepped out of the shadows to make this information and natural solution freely available to all humanity.’ His website describes MMS as ‘this breakthrough can save your life. The answer to AIDs, hepatitis A, B and C, malaria, herpes, TB most cancers and many more of mankind’s worst diseases.’

Unfortunately, his website also fits the seven signs of pseudoscience, ticking many of the boxes for quackery. For example, Humble claims that the availablility of MMS could soon be threatened by the “powers that be”. He also discovered the drug in isolation and has not published his findings in the peer reviewed scientific literature. He claims the drug can cure a wide range of disparate illnesses and his website is peppered with testimonials in lieu of evidence that MMS works.

The results of the autopsy on the dead woman have yet to be released. According to her husband, she fell ill almost immediately after consuming the MMS, which was mixed with lime juice, with vomiting and diarrhoea. She then fell into a coma and could not be revived. Twelve hours after taking the drug she was dead.

In July 2009, the  Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia issued an order that an advertisement for Humble’s MMS was to be retracted since the “..advertisement were not correct and balanced, had not been verified by the product sponsor, and were likely to arouse unwarranted and unrealistic expectations of the effectiveness of the advertised product.” In New South Wales last year, six people suffered adverse reactions to the drug, including three who were admitted to hospital. There are also websites dedicated to reporting side effects from taking MMS.