There have always been wacky “cures” for cancer circulating the internet, but most of them won’t kill you. The newest solution, on the other hand, involves imbibing a potentially poisonous solution: hydrogen peroxide.
The Fresno-Madera California Poison Control Center became concerned when they witnessed a sudden spike in calls related to incidents of ingesting hydrogen peroxide. Dr. Rais Vohra, medical director of the center, told local paper The Fresno Bee that there were simply too many calls to ignore. California Poison Control was compelled to release a warning against swallowing hydrogen peroxide, according to CBS Sacramento.
Vohra expressed concern that people were finding false health claims on the internet and blindly believing them, leading them to resort to this risky behavior. This has happened before, even driving mothers to feed their babies harsh bleach solutions to “cure autism.”
It turns out that claims about hydrogen peroxide do exist. On Twitter, users are tweeting misleading information that hydrogen peroxide can cure cancer.
“I believe this is the cure for all diseases including cancer,” one confident user said.
“Beat cancer with hydrogen peroxide,” another promised.
But the only thing you’ll beat with hydrogen peroxide is your clean bill of health.
If you drink too much of it, the National Capital Poison Center warns, “There can be a lot of stomach irritation and even burns that require a trip to the emergency room and possible hospital admission.” Other potential side effects include tissue burns, severe injury, or even death.
The agency cautions that any purported “health benefits” are not based on any real scientific evidence.
People who consume the substance may believe that since hydrogen peroxide is technically just water with an extra molecule of oxygen tacked on, it can’t be dangerous.
“adderall and meth don’t have identical chemical makeups but they’re similar which makes them the same exact thing. anyway I’m going to have a glass of hydrogen peroxide which is just water with an extra oxygen atom so no difference really,” tweeted @_dumbaby in mockery of the trend.
Unfortunately for these misguided social media users, that’s not how chemistry works. But if the Tide Pods scandal taught us anything, it’s that people will try anything that could make them famous on Twitter — even the dumbest trends just keep on trending.