Florida judge halts church's sale of bleach marketed as coronavirus treatment

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 11: Bottles of Clorox bleach sit on a shelf at a grocery store on February 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Shares of Clorox stock rose 7.6 percent to close at $71.26 after billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A federal judge in South Florida has ordered a Colombia-based church to stop selling an industrial bleach marketed as a treatment for the new coronavirus and other ailments.

Judge Kathleen Williams entered a temporary injunction Friday halting Genesis II Church of Health and Healing’s sale of Miracle Mineral Solution in the U.S.

Genesis sells MMS through its websites, according to a U.S. Justice Department civil complaint filed Thursday in the Southern District of Florida. Prosecutors say Genesis markets the solution as a treatment for COVID-19, as well as Alzheimer’s, autism, brain cancer, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis. The Food and Drug Administration has previously issued public warnings that MMS can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and severe dehydration. The chemical product, chlorine dioxide, becomes a powerful bleach when combined with the included activator, officials said.

“We will zealously pursue perpetrators of fraud schemes seeking to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic,” U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan said in a statement.

Disease-related treatment claims for MMS are unsupported by any well-controlled clinical studies or other credible scientific substantiation, according to the complaint.

Genesis didn’t immediately respond to a message from the Associated Press seeking comment.