10

I'm receiving advertising (from my friends) about hydrogen peroxide therapy (oxygenated water, I think). They affirm that this treatment is

a low-cost therapy based on a natural oxygenating substance that is easy and painless to use at home -- and which is scientifically proven to prevent and cure virtually all diseases without adverse effects.

I'm worried about my friends that are trying to convince me and they probably are drinking it. What are the dangers or risks of doing this?

Update:

I did a little research, the product is called Oxytam that is made

distilling hydrogen peroxide for propulsion purposes, leaving a residue that is pure bi-distilled water and tri-distilled hydrogen peroxide.

The email has a reference to a website in order to "learn more" about this treatment. Although the manufacturer offers two languages to choose from in the start page, the product (Oxytam) page ( http://www.tecaeromex.com/esp/ph-cura.htm ) is offered only in spanish; apparently because they distribute only locally.

  • 1
    "Oxygenated water" means the same as aerated water - water with oxygen dissolved in it. It is what fish need to "breathe". Hydrogen Peroxide is H2O2, which isn't water - it happens to have molecules made of similar elements, but it is very different. – Oddthinking Jan 16 '12 at 3:11
  • 2
    Two friends go to a bar. One says, "I'll have a glass of H2O." The second says, "I'll have a glass of H2O, too." The second one dies. – Kaz Dragon Jun 3 '13 at 12:28
14

Concentrated Hydrogen peroxide solutions (MSDS from Merck for a 30% solution) are strongly oxidizing and corrosive. Those should only be handled with proper safety procedures and euqipment (especially safety glasses).

The Emergency overview from the MSDS states:

DANGER! OXIDIZER. CONTACT WITH OTHER MATERIAL MAY CAUSE FIRE. CAUSES RESPIRATORY TRACT, EYE AND SKIN BURNS. HARMFUL IF INHALED OR SWALLOWED. MAY BE HARMFUL IF ABSORBED THROUGH SKIN. CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH MAY CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE FOLLOWING ORGANS: MUCOUS MEMBRANES, RESPIRATORY TRACT, SKIN, EYE, LENS OR CORNEA, NOSE, SINUSES.

Lower concentrated solutions (around 3-8% H2O2) are used to bleach hair, that should give you an idea that this is a pretty reactive chemical.

The Hong Kong Center for Food safety says the following about ingesting highly diluted solutions of hydrogen peroxide

Oral ingestion of 3% hydrogen peroxide solutions (household strength) generally does not result in severe toxicity but may result in vomiting, mild irritation to mucosa and burns in the mouth, throat, oesophagus and stomach. Ingestion of higher concentration, e.g. >10%, can result in more dangerous sequelae such as burns to mucus membranes and gut mucosa.

I would guess that the therapy you asked about uses far lower concentrations of H2O2 than 3 percent, because the higher concentrations are likely to cause some unwanted effects. Whether the ingestion is really dangerous depends strongly on the concentration of the hydrogen peroxide solution. I personally wouldn't ingest it in any case, but if it a very highly diluted solution it probably doesn't do much of anything.

I would be worried about handling higher concentrated H2O2 solutions, e.g. if they add concentrated H2O2 to the water themselves, they have to be careful when handling it.

  • 2
    The bottle of hydrogen peroxide I have says you can actually use it as mouthwash but do NOT swallow as it can be harmful. So definitely a topical antiseptic. – avwa Apr 29 '11 at 4:00
  • 1
    This is not a proof; sometimes things can be counter-intuitive. For instance , Ascorbic acid is apparently an anti-oxidant? Who would have thought. What do you say to the underoxygenation theory? educate-yourself.org/cancer/… 90% alcohol is also unpleasant to drink and leads to health issues, but 5% beer or 12% wine is liked by many. – Job May 23 '11 at 0:52
  • 1
    Low-concentration H2O2 is sold and widely used as a topical antiseptic (minor wounds, bruises) at least in my part of the world. Of course very small doses and external only for this use case. – Agos May 27 '11 at 9:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .