It doesn't feel like it's been that long since we got over the ridiculous trend of teens eating tide pods, but it seems that the human race rarely runs low on dangerous stupidity. However, while plenty of teens were biting into laundry detergent as a joke, trying (and sometimes failing) to not ingest any of it, there are apparently people out there consuming hydrogen peroxide for the apparent health benefits.
Poison Control have had to step in and point out the obvious dangers of doing this, but that hasn't stopped many from trying it out. Across the internet and social media, there are people that will explain how hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is good for you. Their reasoning is that it comes from water and oxygen, so it should boost the oxygen levels in your body.
Many have suffered internal damage from consuming it, while there are no clear benefits backed up by any scientific study. Despite this, the California Poison Control Center has still had to put out an alert recently to advise people not to drink the chemical. This response comes after the department reported that they have received numerous calls from people asking if it's okay to consume it for health reasons.
There are certain medications that hold a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, as well as "food-grade" versions that are more concentrated at 35 percent. However, you are only supposed to have a few drops with plenty of water even according to those that advertise its supposed benefits, but it's not easy to be certain of this.
Symptoms of ingesting too much range from mild stomach pain and nausea to severe tissue damage and even death - so there is a fair amount of risk involved.
Tolman Self Care, one of the websites which supported hydrogen peroxide as a potential health booster, wrote that "When using a 35% food-grade source with no stabilisers, no additives or impurities, Hydrogen Peroxide can be miraculous in helping to ward off ailments, heal conditions and even diseases in the body and for various purposes around the home."
They went on to say that it "effectively kills disease-causing microorganisms by ‘oxidising’ them in a process which breaks down organic materials into oxygen and water".
These claims extend to potentially fighting cancer, although according to some sites it could fend off dozens of ailments. The illnesses and symptoms it is claimed it could beat include allergies, herpes, Alzheimer's, HIV, diabetes, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. However, Poison Control have had their say on the matter, insisting that it is only safe in very small doses, though even this isn't recommended either:
"Swallowing small amounts of household (3%) hydrogen peroxide usually is not dangerous. It can create a lot of foam, though. Household hydrogen peroxide can be irritating to eyes and skin. Higher concentrations can cause burns."
For reference, hair bleach is between six and 10 percent hydrogen peroxide. 'Food grade' hydrogen peroxide is 35 percent, but isn't as edible as the name implies. Poison Control advises that no one should take it internally unless it is considerably diluted - but at the end of the day, it's safest to avoid it altogether.