A warning letter has been sent to a company marketing bogus and dangerous chlorine dioxide products for the prevention and treatment of Covid-19, the US Food and Drug Administration says.
The fraudulent claims by the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing about its "Miracle Mineral Solution" products are especially concerning in relation to children, who are at increased risk for harm from consuming chlorine dioxide, according to the FDA.
The joint warning letter from the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission gave the company 48 hours to outline what it's done to correct the violations.
The FDA has previously warned consumers against buying or drinking chlorine dioxide products sold online as medical treatments. Chlorine dioxide is a powerful bleaching agent with serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.
Not safe or effective for any use
"Despite previous warnings, the FDA is concerned that we are still seeing chlorine dioxide products being sold with misleading claims that they are safe and effective for the treatment of diseases, now including Covid-19. The sale of these products can jeopardise a person's health and delay proper medical treatment," said FDA commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn.
"We continue to take action and keep up our efforts to monitor for fraudulent treatments during this public health emergency and remind the public to seek medical help from their health care providers," he added in an agency news release.
Chlorine dioxide products have not been shown to be safe or effective for any use – including Covid-19. But the FDA said they continue to be sold as a remedy for treating autism, cancer, HIV/Aids, hepatitis and flu, among other conditions.
FDA has received reports of people suffering serious problems after drinking chlorine dioxide products.
Those problems include respiratory failure; changes in the heart's electrical activity that can cause deadly abnormal rhythms; life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration; acute liver failure; low blood cell counts that require blood transfusion; as well as severe vomiting and diarrhoea.