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Calgary man fined $12,000 for selling bleaching agent as ‘miracle’ treatment

A Calgary man has pleaded guilty to offences under Canada’s Food and Drug Act for selling sodium chlorite, a commonly used industrial bleaching agent, as medicine.

Pedro Acuna Saavedra, doing business as Genesis II Church Chapter #291, had been selling the bleaching agent as a drug to treat bacteria, viruses, and the parasite Giardia according to his now-defunct website.

On July, 7, 2023, Acuna was sentenced to a $12,000 fine, and prohibited from possessing sodium chlorite, along with selling or manufacturing any unauthorized drugs or natural health products.

Sodium chlorite, commonly referred to as MMS which stands for Miracle Mineral Supplement or Master Mineral Solution, has been cited by Health Canada as a cause for concern for the health of Canadians, with multiple warnings and convictions for its sale over the past decade.

“The Department warns that anyone involved in the advertising or sale of MMS or similar products will be stopped. We urge the public to not take MMS for the treatment of ailments, and to report the sale of these unauthorized products to Health Canada,” said Health Canada.

The Genesis II Church Chapter #291 had been promoting the sale of MMS as a sacramental cleansing water kit, and was sold by what was claimed as a donation to the church, for $50 per bottle. Under the instructions for use, users were told to ignore the mixed liquid turning yellow, fizzing, and letting off a “chlorine-like odor.”

‘Miracle’ cure a toxic industrial bleaching agent used to bleach wood products

Sodium chlorite is commonly used to strip and bleach wood and paper products.

Neither Health Canada nor the United States Federal Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes the use of sodium chlorite for human consumption as a drug, owing to the danger it poses from poisoning, causing kidney failure, and reducing the ability for red blood cells to carry oxygen—a life-threatening condition.

The sale of MMS was banned in Canada, after two patients had serious adverse reactions, one of them life-threatening, to the solution.

Industrial bleach has been promoted falsely as a cure for cancer, HIV/AIDS, childhood autism, and Crohn’s Disease, among others.

A B.C. man was sentenced to six months of house arrest in 2018, with a two-year conditional sentence followed by two years of probation for selling MMS.

The FDA sent a warning to Genesis 2 Church in 2020, after MMS was touted as a cure for Covid-19. The leader of that church, Mark Grenon, was extradited to the U.S. from Colombia to face charges over the sale of MMS products in 2022.

It is alleged that Grenon sold the MMS solution to distributors to sell, in exchange for payments described as donations to the church.

An FDA agent was quoted in the Miami Herald, which has been covering the trial of Grenon, as saying that the solution had been sold on religious websites in order to get around government regulations in the U.S., as to “not go to jail.”

Health Canada said that consumers looking for products that have been tested for safety, should look for the drug identification number, natural product number, or homeopathic medicines number on the label.

Consumers can also check whether a product has been authorized for sale at the Drug Product Database or on the Licensed Natural Health Products Database.