Genesis II Church founder Jim Humble.
Screenshot: ABC News

The Food and Drug Administration warned the public not to attend a “miracle cure” event being thrown by group using the name Genesis II Church of Health and Healing in Leavenworth, Washington on Saturday, noting their supposed medical marvel is a highly toxic substance.

Per the Guardian, the FDA warned that the “miracle mineral solution or supplement” is in fact chlorine dioxide, a bleach used in industrial textile production and water treatment. (Screenshots of the Genesis II website advertise the substance as generated from a mixture of “hydrochloic acid” [sic] and sodium chlorite, which is associated with acute renal failure.)

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“Consumers who have MMS should stop using it immediately and throw it away,” the FDA warned in 2010, according to the Guardian. A spokesperson told the paper they could not comment on possible enforcement actions but “The FDA continues to advise consumers about the dangers of Miracle Mineral Solution and the agency has issued warnings to consumers over the past decade.”

Per the Guardian, organizer of the event and self-declared Genesis II “bishop” Mark Grenon claims that ingesting the substance—which is linked to death and side effects like shedding of digestive tract lining—is a cure-all for everything from autism to ebola:

In a video posted on the “church’s” website, Grenon says that the “sacramental protocols” sold by the group can eliminate 95% of the world’s diseases, including malaria, ebola, dengue fever, all types of cancer, diabetes, autism, HIV and multiple sclerosis. It sells 4oz bottles of sodium chlorite as “sacramental cleansing water” for $15, giving instructions on how to mix it with citric acid to make chlorine dioxide.

The Guardian contacted Grenon to ask why he was peddling industrial bleach described by the FDA as potentially dangerous as a miracle cure, but he did not immediately respond.

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Genesis II’s event on Facebook states “Donation for registration is $450 per person; $800 for couples; and $400 for returning seminar students.”

ABC News reported in 2016 that the founder of Genesis II, Jim Humble, “is a former Scientologist who claims he’s a billion-year-old god from the Andromeda galaxy” and that he discovered the substance in a South American jungle. Humble was, as of late 2016, living near Guadalajara, Mexico, which ABC suggested was part of an attempt to live “outside the reach of American law.”

As the Guardian separately wrote, Humble has cited Catholic sex abuse scandals as a model for churches to evade legal scrutiny and claims to have used the chlorine dioxide solution to treat thousands of patients across Africa and Mexico.

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In 2015, the BBC contracted a lab to test the sodium chlorite and hydrochloric acid sold by the Genesis II church, finding that they were “57% and 45% stronger than the advertised concentration respectively.” Leon Edwards, a figure associated with the church, told a researcher who met with him on behalf of the BBC that the substance can “purge” diseases and that “I put it in my eyes, my nose, my ears, bathe in it, drunk it, breathed it in my lungs. I got injected in my butt with it.”

The sale of the substance for human consumption is illegal in the U.S.; in 2015, a jury in the eastern district of Washington convicted a 45-year-old man named Louis Daniel Smith of conspiracy, introducing mislabeled drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud or mislead, and fraudulently smuggling merchandise into the U.S. for selling miracle medical solution. A judge sentenced him to over four years in prison.

According to the Guardian, a promotional video for the event on Saturday that appears to have been filmed in Uganda shows “an infant lying in his or her mother’s arms who is made to drink a cup of the bleach. The child screams as the fluid is swallowed.”

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In March, Amazon yanked some books advertising miracle mineral solution as well as chelation treatments, which are used to purge heavy metals like mercury, after Wired reported both that the books were available on the site and that an Amazon spokesperson had “refused to confirm that it had any system in place to prevent medically dangerous information from being sold on its website.”

[The Guardian via Daily Beast]