Doctors are warning Minnesotans not to drink hydrogen peroxide after a recent spike in hospital admissions.
The Star Tribune reports six people have been treated at Hennepin County Medical Center this year after accidentally ingesting hydrogen peroxide, thinking it was water.
But there is a trend among some people who are intentionally drinking highly-concentrated amounts of the chemical in diluted form to treat minor ailments like sinus infections and inflammation, the paper reports.
It's 'not based on scientific evidence'
Although ingesting small amounts of the 3 percent concentration hydrogen peroxide typically used in the home isn't generally dangerous, the National Capital Poison Center (NCPC) notes some people are using the much stronger (35 percent) food-grade hydrogen peroxide as an alternative therapy for ailments like allergies, diabetes, emphysema, lupus, warts and HIV.
But any claims the chemical can help improve health conditions are "not based on scientific evidence," the National Capital Poison Center (NCPC) notes.
"Drinking higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can be very dangerous because it can cause tissue burns," the website says.
The risks of drinking strong hydrogen peroxide
A study by the American College of Emergency Physicians said the use of highly concentrated versions of the chemical can land you in the emergency room, and fast.
Ingesting it can lead to blood clots, heart attack, stroke and even death in some cases, the report from February noted.
After studying a decade of poison control records for ingestion of peroxide of higher than 10 percent concentration, the researchers found victims either died or were permanently disabled in 6.8 percent of cases.
Fourteen percent of cases resulted in an embolism.
Most of the cases happened when victims mistook the colorless chemical for water.
There is less risk with the brown bottle hydrogen peroxide you'll find in the drug store, which UPI notes is used to treat minor wounds or for cosmetic purposes.
Swallowing small amounts of this is not usually dangerous, the NCPC says, but can cause an upset stomach, mouth soreness and potential vomiting in children who swallow it.