(Investigator 173, 2017 March)


Discovered in 1818, hydrogen peroxide is a compound composed of hydrogen and oxygen. Used as a propellant for the launching of rockets and as a commercial and domestic disinfectant. It was not until 1920, that Dr. T. H. Oliver reported in Lancet his results from the use of hydrogen peroxide infusions to treat cases of pneumonia, a complication of influenza. In the late 1980s, Dr. Charles H. Farr, M.D., Ph.D., reported in "The Therapeutic Use of Intravenous Hydrogen Peroxide" that the compound destroys micro-organisms. In recent times, hydrogen peroxide has been promoted to be used in "hyper-oxygenation therapy" for AIDS, cancers, heart and blood vessel diseases, immune disorders, infectious diseases, pulmonary diseases and many more ailments and conditions.


Hydrogen peroxide reacts with catalase, an enzyme found in most cells, and releases oxygen. The resulting bubbles are responsible for peroxide's brief antibacterial action.


Used by dentists to treat gum disease. In the home as a disinfectant. And by mail-order quacks as a cure-all.

The claims made by mail-order quacks are not only bogus but can be extremely dangerous as the following extracts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration press release dated April 13, 1989 reveals.

"The Food and Drug Administration warned today that industrial strength hydrogen peroxide illegally promoted to treat AIDS and cancer has caused at least one death in Texas and several injuries requiring hospitalisation."

The products are sold as "35% food grade hydrogen peroxide" to be diluted and used as "hyper-oxygenated therapy" for AIDS, cancers and more than sixty other conditions. FDA said there is no proof that either the product or the therapy has any medicinal value. Further,

"...this concentration — more than ten times as strong as the three per cent solution commonly used to disinfect minor cuts — is highly corrosive. FDA considers it dangerous even if it is handled according to the manufacturers' directions... This concentration is not approved by FDA for any therapeutic purpose ... indeed, no one has come forward with any evidence that this substance taken internally has any medical value. Buyers are cheated and subjected to significant risks and family members are being injured."

The FDA further reported that the products — sometimes called "bio-water" and "H202" — are promoted as an "alternative medicine" by mail-order distributors, and by some "health food" outlets.

The promotion of hydrogen peroxide as a home remedy has continued and has reappeared despite the efforts of FDA since 1985 to get distributors of 35% hydrogen peroxide to stop making the illegal claims. FDA is not aware of any medical benefits from consuming hydrogen peroxide in any form.


Barrett, S. 1993. The Health Robbers, Prometheus Books.

Barrett & Cornacchia, 1993. Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions. Mosby.

CA-Cancer J Clinic. 1993. Questionable methods of cancer management: hydrogen peroxide and other "hyper oxygenation" therapies. 43:47-56.

Farr, Charles H., M.D., Robert L. White, and Michael Schachter, M.D. 1991. Chronological History of EDTA Chelation Therapy.
Food and Drug Administration.1989. Press Release, April.13.

Jarvis, W. 1989. Hydrogen Peroxide Poisonings. NCAHF Newsletter. 1989:12(3):5.
Sleigh, J.W. and Linter, S.P.K. 1985. Hazards of Hydrogen Peroxide. British Medical Journal. 1985:291:1706.

[From: Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics Inc.]