The American Association of Poison Control Centers said in its annual reports that 226 cases of exposure to non-household bleach were reported to national poison control centers in 2017, the most recent year for which data was available, compared with 276 in 2016. The data did not include whether the exposure was accidental or intentional, or whether it resulted in fatalities.
The F.D.A. received reports of at least 20 people affected by exposure to MMS, with at least seven deaths of people who had ingested Miracle Mineral Solution — two in 2018 and one each in 2017, 2014, 2013, 2011 and 2009.
But the problem could be wider: Experts say that not everyone who is exposed to the solution will report it, because the labels on such products say that vomiting and diarrhea are common side effects.
“This is a pretty rare exposure, and that might be that people are afraid of being judged,” Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist and a medical director at the National Capital Poison Center in Washington, D.C., said in an interview. “All this data is underreported, because somebody has to decide to call the poison center or make the report to the F.D.A.”
Dr. Sharpless said his agency would track the companies selling the products and “take appropriate enforcement actions.” In 2015, a federal jury in Washington State found a Spokane man, Louis Daniel Smith, 45, guilty of selling industrial bleach as a “miracle cure,” the Justice Department said.
The F.D.A. has warned and taken action against companies promoting other products purported to be used as a treatment for autism, including cleanses, detoxifying clay baths and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
The dangers of medical misinformation were highlighted in an investigation by NBC News that was published in June and examined online attempts to encourage the use of chlorine dioxide to treat autism, which has no known cure.