- Argentinian authorities charged Andreas Kalcker with falsely promoting toxic bleach as a medical cure.
- The investigation was launched after a boy, 5, died after being given the substance by his parents.
- Chlorine dioxide is a type of industrial bleaching agent commonly used to treat wood products.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Argentinian authorities have charged Andreas Kalcker, a key figure in a sprawling movement that hails toxic bleach as a "miracle" medical treatment.
The charges follow a seven-month-long investigation by the Unidad Fiscal para la Investigación de Delitos contra el Medio Ambiente (UFIMA), which investigates medical crimes in Argentina.
The investigation was launched after the August 2020 death of a five-year-old boy in Neuquen, western Argentina, of multiple organ failure consistent with chlorine dioxide poisoning.
The child's parents believed, on the basis of misinformation spread by Kalcker and others, that the substance had the power to ward off COVID-19, legal documents previously reviewed by Insider said.
An Argentinian judicial source told Insider that Kalcker has been charged with illegal practice of the medical profession and selling fake medicines.
The offenses, if found to have resulted in a person's death, carry a maximum of 25 years.
Kalcker did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. In past comments to Insider he has denied recommending that people take the substances in large enough doses to cause harm.
Kalcker, alongside several Argentinian nationals, is accused by authorities of playing a key role in promoting chlorine dioxide in the country as a cure for various illnesses, including COVID-19, in conferences, books, and on social media.
According to the legal documents seen by Insider, Kalcker is believed to reside in Switzerland.
In March, police raided properties in Buenos Aires and the western city of Mar del Plata where chlorine dioxide was being manufactured and sold. Officials conducted new raids on 13 properties across Argentina on Thursday, Argentina's Chequeado news site reported, which the judicial source confirmed to Insider.
Chlorine dioxide is a type of industrial bleaching agent commonly used to treat wood products. Public health authorities around the world have issued warnings about taking the substance, with the US Food and Drugs Administration warning that it can be fatal if taken in large doses.
In recent years, a movement originating in a fake Florida "church" has promoted the substance it calls "Miracle Mineral Solution" (MMS), or "Chlorine Dioxide Solution" (CDS), as a cure for a range of illnesses and condition.
Insider has chronicled the key role played by Kalcker in popularizing chlorine dioxide as a miracle cure in Latin America, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enlisting the support of local celebrities, renegade medics and military figures, the movement has promoted the substance on social media, with pages with thousands of followers pushingthe substance across the continent.
In Bolivia, the misinformation campaign led by Kalcker succeeded in persuading the government to legitimize chlorine dioxide as a COVID-19 treatment despite the absence of any evidence that it is safe or effective as a medical treatment.
Earlier this year Insider reported that MMS advocates were focusing their efforts to promote the substance in Mexico.