Pass the Poison: I Wanna Party

This recent FDA news release headline cracks me up: FDA WARNS AGAINST DRINKING HIGH-STRENGTH HYDROGEN PEROXIDE.

It’s all uppercase like that, too. The FDA is big on shouting.

It seems to me that there’s only one response to that headline: “Well... duh!” Seriously: I know when I’m thinking about refreshing beverages, hydrogen peroxide is not something that jumps right into my head. It doesn’t even make the list.

I have hydrogen peroxide in my house. I just went and checked the strength: not something I ever thought about before. Every three to five years, when I run out of the stuff (usually because someone has spilled the bottle) I go to the local pharmacy and buy what’s there. According to the current bottle purchased in this manner, that stuff is three per cent. Obviously not high strength. And I’m still not tempted to drink it.

Here’s what I do with it: when I get some kind of boo-boo that looks in danger of a teensy infection -- like a paper cut (I’m in a high risk business for paper cuts) I drizzle a little hydrogen peroxide on said cut and the stuff cleanses it. I know it’s cleansing it because if the cut is even thinking about getting infected, once the hydrogen peroxide hits it, it fizzes the way I imagine one of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory concoctions fizzing. And the more infected the owie, the more fizzing I get. It pleases me on a surprisingly visceral level because you just know that with all that fizzing, no infectious cooties are likely to survive. But that doesn’t make me want to drink the stuff either.

Here’s what the FDA warning says, in part:

FDA has never approved high-strength hydrogen peroxide to be taken internally and considers hydrogen peroxide at 35 percent strength dangerous, even if handled according to the manufacturer's directions. This high-strength hydrogen peroxide -- more than 10 times stronger than the solution used in over-the-counter drugs to disinfect minor cuts -- is highly corrosive. Ingesting hydrogen peroxide can cause gastrointestinal irritation or ulceration. Intravenous (IV) administration of hydrogen peroxide can cause inflammation of the blood vessel at the injection site, gas embolisms (bubbles in blood vessels), and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.

Again with the big, “Duh.” Honestly, I didn’t know about embolism, ulceration, highly corrosive gastrointestinal irritation but, considering all that fizzy cootie removing action, it just kinda makes sense.

So, naturally, the warning got me thinking: just what the heck are people doing with freakishly strong hydrogen peroxide (imagine all that fizzing!) that would cause the FDA to get all motherly about it? That is, what did people think high strength hydrogen peroxide would do that would so get the FDA’s knickers in a twist? Thanks to Google, the exploration was easy.

One of the things I found was this very cool guide to hydrogen peroxide which, while shedding little light on why people would be drinking the stuff, did let me know it might actually be good for my septic system (note to self: stuff that’s good for my septic system should probably not be considered a beverage).

I also discovered that “high test hydrogen peroxide” can be used as a racing fuel. (Second note to self: anything that the Russian navy uses to power torpedoes should probably also not be used to replace the red wine in my diet.)

In fact, in all my Googlish wandering, I found a lot more sites warning against drinking the stuff than I did those telling you to ingest it. I did find one article about using high strength hydrogen peroxide that was pretty balanced (OK: maybe slightly to the left of balanced) as well as informative.

But I still think that, when I'm craving a fizzy drink, I’ll stick with Aranciata.


Popular Posts