FDA warns marketers of phony chelation treatments

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The FDA warned eight companies yesterday that their over-the-counter oral chelation products are unapproved drugs and any labels claiming that their products can treat various medical condition violate federal law. Several chelation products are advertised online as “all-natural” cures for ailments such as autism and Alzheimer’s disease. The manufacturers assert that various medical issues are caused by exposure to heavy metals that can be targeted and eliminated from the body by their pills, a process known as chelation. Intravenous chelation therapy is currently approved for use in hospitals to treat conditions such as lead and mercury poisoning.

ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross warns that while some may claim that oral chelation is safer, “it’s a placebo or worse. The snake-oil salesmen use consumers’ minimal knowledge of chelation’s valid use to make families with a relative suffering from a devastating condition, especially autism, to entice them. They say that if chelation is used in the hospital to remove excess heavy metals, then it must be good. They say that the patient’s condition is likely due to heavy metal poisoning.”

“People who are marketing these oral chelation therapies are exploiting vulnerable people who don’t know what else to do about their or their loved one’s illness and convince them that removing heavy metals can cure autism and Alzheimers disease,” says ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. “I commend the FDA for cracking down on these vultures.”