Peroxide sellers to lay off the health promises
By DARREN BARBEE
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
Despite all the warnings, Donald Worden mixes five drops of concentrated hydrogen peroxide in an 8-ounce glass of water every morning.
Then, he drinks up.
The peroxide Worden drinks, adds to his bath, cleans his vegetables with -- and sells -- isn't Walgreens' brown-bottle variety used on scraped knees. It's 10 times more powerful and strong enough to bleach paper and fabric, decontaminate wastewater, and kill.
"I haven't had a cold or flu or seen a doctor for an illness since I've been selling this stuff for about seven years now," he said.
Worden, 71, is part of a strange Internet subculture in which hydrogen peroxide is pushed as a treatment for AIDS, cancer, sinus infections, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and even gangrene.
It also apparently works wonders as a swimming pool cleaner.
The Food and Drug Administration and medical experts says there's no scientific evidence to support claims that peroxide's infusion of oxygen has the power to heal. The agency has long warned of the dangers of drinking or injecting peroxide, but sales of the chemical over the Internet remain vast and dynamic, an FDA spokeswoman said.
...Worden says he did nothing wrong. He ran afoul of the FDA by linking his Web site to information suggesting peroxide relieves allergies, influenza and acute viral infections. He has added disclaimers. But he still likes to tell a story he heard about a horse's damaged hoof that healed after it was put in a bucket of peroxide twice a day for several weeks.
Worden said that he fills 60 to 80 orders per month and that his customers include universities and cleaning professionals. But he said the FDA has reasons for suppressing what he believes peroxide can do: "The FDA is the enforcement arm of the pharmaceutical companies."
...Still, some believe that drinking peroxide, which O'Connell said some veterinarians use to induce vomiting in animals, or injecting it, will help them. The desperate and the famous have latched on to that theory.
Coretta Scott King, for instance, traveled to a clinic in Mexico for a cancer treatment that partly involves intravenous drips of hydrogen peroxide, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She died this year before receiving treatment.
There is no evidence that oxygen therapy is effective in treating cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
Despite the criticism, Worden said he has heard accounts of AIDS and cancer patients helped by the chemical he sells.
"I don't know whether they lied to me," he said. "There was no gain to it."