Released on August 14, 2006
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers on July 27, 2006, not to buy or to use for medical purposes high-strength hydrogen peroxide products, including an over-the-counter product marketed as "35 Percent Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide," because they can cause harm or death when taken internally. These products are not approved by the FDA and the agency recommends that consumers who are currently using high-strength hydrogen peroxide stop...
Released on August 14, 2006
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers on July 27, 2006, not to buy or to use for medical purposes high-strength hydrogen peroxide products, including an over-the-counter product marketed as "35 Percent Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide," because they can cause harm or death when taken internally. These products are not approved by the FDA and the agency recommends that consumers who are currently using high-strength hydrogen peroxide stop immediately and consult their physicians.
Three percent hydrogen peroxide is sold legally as a weak over-the-counter topical antibacterial to disinfect minor wounds and cuts. The high-strength hydrogen peroxide products are more than ten times the concentration of the legally marketed products and are highly corrosive. Taking hydrogen peroxide internally can cause gastrointestinal (GI) irritation or ulceration. Intravenous (IV) administration of hydrogen peroxide can cause inflammation of the blood vessel at the injection site, gas embolisms (bubbles in the blood stream), and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.
The FDA issued Warning Letters to two firms, DFWX of Wolfe City, TX and Frad 35, Inc. of Clyde, TX, for illegally selling 35 percent hydrogen peroxide products on Internet sites for the treatment of AIDS, cancers, emphysema, and other serious and life-threatening diseases. Some of the dangerous, unsupported, and illegal claims that are being made by these companies are:
- "... it is believed that hydrogen peroxide may help prevent and even combat cancer."
- "Conditions which can be treated with H202 [hydrogen peroxide] include those conditions which can be treated with antibiotics, but without the serious toxicity often associated with laboratory produced synthetic antibiotics. Some of these conditions are candidiasis [yeast], viral infections, influenza, the common cold, sinus infection, Epstein-Barr virus and gangrene."
- "Hydrogen peroxide also has been found to dissolve cholesterol and calcium deposits associated with atherosclerosis. Therefore, it is a good treatment for vascular disorders. This can result in lessening or disappearance of angina [chest pain] ... can help reverse some of the damage left over by a stroke ..."
- "Some doctors believe AIDS and cancer can be helped with hydrogen peroxide."
- "It also clears the lungs, in cases of emphysema ..."
- "In addition, hydrogen peroxide benefits asthma, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, degenerative spinal disc disease and high blood pressure. It is particularly effective with asthma, arthritis and back disorders."
- "Intravenous hydrogen peroxide rapidly relieves allergic reactions, influenza symptoms, and acute viral infections."
- "Hydrogen peroxide can also be applied either internally as injections (directly into a cancerous tumor for example) or intravenously into the blood stream."
Seventeen years ago, in April 1989, the FDA warned consumers about the illegal promotion of high-strength hydrogen peroxide to treat AIDS and cancer following at least one death in Texas and several injuries requiring hospitalization. In addition to the dangers of using an ineffective and dangerous chemical for medicinal purposes, keeping 35 percent hydrogen peroxide or other concentrated forms of this chemical in the home poses the additional risk of accidental poisonings. The FDA found two incidents of serious injury involving high-strength hydrogen peroxide. In the first case, a four-year-old girl poured a drink for her two brothers from a quart bottle of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide that she mistook for water. The resulting injuries required more than six months of medical care and cost thousands of dollars. The second case involved a mother who poured what she thought was water from a bottle in her refrigerator for her two children and a neighbors child. Her children were severely injured and the neighbors child died after drinking the liquid.
It is likely that there are more instances of serious injuries and perhaps deaths from high-strength hydrogen peroxide than the cases the FDA found 17 years ago. The purveyors of dangerous alternative medicine treatments such as high-strength hydrogen peroxide operate outside of the law, because 35 percent hydrogen peroxide is an unapproved drug. Manufacturers of drugs are required to report adverse events to regulatory authorities. The only way that the public finds out about problems with products marketed illegally like those addressed here is when individuals are killed or injured.
Unfortunately, the promotion of hydrogen peroxide as an alternative medicine has continued and has reappeared despite efforts by the FDA beginning in 1985 to get distributors to stop selling and making illegal claims for 35 percent hydrogen peroxide. This places in question the ability of the FDA to prevent needless harm from clearly dangerous products that are being sold illegally. It is yet another example of the FDAs failure to enforce existing laws and prosecute these companies.
What You Can Do
You should not purchase or use any 35 percent hydrogen peroxide product for any purpose. Consumers are being cheated and subjected to significant risks and family members may be accidently injured.