On July 27, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning intended to caution consumers about the medicinal use of high-strength hydrogen peroxide and sent warning letters to two companies demanding an immediate cessation of their pro-hydrogen peroxide marketing campaigns. Marketed as “Food-Grade Hydrogen Peroxide”, “35% Hydrogen Peroxide” and “Internal Use Peroxide”, these products are more than 10 times more concentrated than the hydrogen peroxide used to clean and disinfect minor wounds but are sold to unsuspecting consumers for topical and oral use.
What “Food Grade” Hydrogen Peroxide is Supposed To Do For You
Despite the fact that no scientific evidence has ever been presented to back up their claims, hydrogen peroxide proponents like David G. Williams of Educate-Yourself claim that hydrogen peroxide “has been used successfully” for allergies, cirrhosis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, emphysema and a host of other ailments. Various pro-hydrogen peroxide web sites advocate using hydrogen peroxide topically, orally and in enemas. Some of the more radical believers even recommend injecting hydrogen peroxide directly into veins.
Where The Idea Of Hydrogen Peroxide For Cancer & AIDS Comes From
The idea that hydrogen peroxide (and the oxygen it releases during use) can cure cancer goes back to the 1930s when Dr. Otto Warburg discovered that cancer cells respire at a slower rate than healthy cells. This lead Dr. Warburg, who was actually a Nobel Prize winner, to conclude that cancer cells could be killed if forced into a high-oxygen environment. In fact, the opposite is true. Cancer cells will actually increase in size and reach when oxygen is abundant but that fact didn’t stop “natural” practitioners from embracing hydrogen peroxide as a near-miracle cure-all.
Most “Natural” Practitioners Disagree, Though
“Natural” guru Dr. Andrew Weil calls injecting hydrogen peroxide into veins, “particularly dangerous”. Dr. Weil also reminds his readers that a 1998 article published in the journal Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine found the use of hydrogen peroxide utterly worthless as a cancer treatment because the body simply can’t absorb enough extra oxygen to make a difference, anyway.
The Dangers of “Food Grade” Hydrogen Peroxide
The truth is, 35% solutions of hydrogen peroxide are not safe and can be fatal if ingested. Even the leading supplier of hydrogen peroxide, US Peroxide, cautions against any use of hydrogen peroxide in solutions greater than 8% and the FDA, which has never approved internal use of high-strength hydrogen peroxide for any reason, considers the chemical dangerous–even when handled according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Hydrogen peroxide at 35% is considered highly corrosive and can cause irritation of the digestive tract and ulceration if ingested. And if used intravenously, 35% hydrogen peroxide can cause inflammation, gas embolisms and allergic reactions.
Diluted properly and used correctly, hydrogen peroxide is a safe, effective anti-microbial product recommended by doctors, dentists and natural practitioners. Used incorrectly, hydrogen peroxide can be extremely dangerous.
FDA. (2006). FDA Warns Consumers Against Drinking High-Strength Hydrogen Peroxide for Medicinal Use
Weil, A. (2004). Can Oxygen Cure Cancer?
Green S. (1998). Oxygenation therapy: Unproven treatments for cancer and AIDS.