The Health Ministry this week issued a warning regarding the sale and consumption of products that falsely claim to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Sodium chlorite and chlorine dioxide (in Spanish, clorito de sodio and dióxido de cloro) are not permitted for any medicinal or therapeutic use in Costa Rica.
“There is no scientific evidence to support the use of these substances against COVID-19 or other diseases,” the Health Ministry said. “Its use puts the health of the population that consumes it or intends to do so at serious risk.”
Viviana Ramos, director of Costa Rica’s National Poison Control Center, told La Nación that the Center now receives 10 calls each day about the chemical compounds.
However, ingesting them can cause severe irritation of the mouth, esophagus and stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Respiratory complications and serious hematological, cardiovascular and kidney issues may also occur, the Health Ministry says.
“Do not use products based on chlorine dioxide or sodium chlorite […] in patients with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19, or in any other case,” the Health Ministry said. “The consumption of these substances can cause serious damage to health, some of which are life-threatening.”
Sodium chlorite and chlorine dioxide are marketed under the following names: Miracle Mineral Solution, Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, MMS Clorito de Sodio, Solución de dióxido de cloro, CDS, CDS Dióxido de Cloro.
The Health Ministry’s recent alert echoes an April 2020 warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (and a similar myth-busting post from the Government of Australia).
“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 jeopardize a person’s health and delay proper medical treatment,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.
Chlorine dioxide products have not been shown to be safe and effective for any use, including COVID-19, the FDA says.
“When the acid is added, the [sodium chlorite] mixture becomes chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleaching agent that has caused serious and potentially life-threatening side effects,” the FDA explained.