How an entire nation embraced toxic bleach as a COVID-19 miracle cure after a tide of misinformation that authorities couldn’t counter

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The endoscope images show serious lesions and swellings in the esophagus, the organ that connects the mouth and stomach.

They come from a patient in the South American nation of Bolivia. The person drank a toxic substance called chlorine dioxide — an industrial bleach — under the false but increasingly common belief that it wards off COVID-19.

The injuries are a stark example of the damage being wrought in Bolivia by a campaign to legitimize chlorine dioxide, known by its advocates as Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS).

MMS supporters — a loose global network of conspiracy theorists and alternative health advocates — groundlessly claim the substance can treat virtually any illness.

In Bolivia, buckling under a deep political crisis and a severe COVID-19 outbreak, they have achieved their most startling success to date.

The clinical images seen by Business Insider were included in an urgent note shared among Bolivian doctors faced with a surge in patients who damaged their bodies by consuming MMS.

The doctor who took the images describes its effect as “sudden and explosive.” They were shared with Business Insider by another medic in Bolivia, who requested anonymity as they were not authorized to make them public.

In Bolivia, using MMS is currently still illegal. However, despite warnings, the country’s legislature recently passed a bill that would authorize its use.

The legislation is in stalemate after Bolivia’s president refused to sign it, and could end up before its Supreme Court.

MMS is said to already be in production at university laboratories, ready to be given to COVID-19 patients. And many people are using it anyway.

Across the country, numerous injuries — and one death — have been reported among those who consumed it.

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In July there were reports of three people poisoned by the substance in El Alto, and 10 in the city of Cochabamba. In the city of Trinidad, doctors believe a woman’s death was caused by consuming the bleach.

A movement born on the fringes of the internet

For years, people promoting MMS worked on the fringes of the internet, coming under increasing pressure in Europe and North America from health authorities, law enforcement agencies, and social media companies. 

MMS is not a medical treatment, but a type of bleach mostly used as a disinfectant, or to whiten paper products.

Its use on humans was first pushed by the Genesis II church, a Florida based organization whose leader, Mark Grenon, was recently arrested in Colombia. He was wanted by investigators in the US, who have linked the promotion of MMS to at least seven deaths.

In the US, MMS been the subject of multiple warnings by the Food and Drugs Administration, which says that it has received reports of “severe vomiting, severe diarrhea, life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration and acute liver failure after drinking these products.”

Bolivia’s own health ministry has warned against taking the substance. In a July advisory it said MMS “puts the health of the population that consumes it, or intends to do so, at serious risk.”

Bolivia is one of …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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