B.C. man first person convicted for sale of so-called miracle tonic

Health Canada has been warning about MMS for years, the so-called Miracle Mineral Solution, a bleach-like product that can cause serious illnesses. Now, a B.C. man has been convicted of packaging, advertising and selling the solution.

Stanley Nowak pleaded guilty to 17 charges related to the sale of dangerous 'miracle tonic'

Stanley Nowak, 67, of Riondel, B.C. has become the first person convicted in Canada related to the packaging and sale of MMS, an industrial bleach marketed by some as a cure for a range of diseases. (The Fifth Estate)

Stanley Nowak has become the first person convicted under the Food and Drug Act for marketing, packaging and selling the so-called Miracle Mineral Solution, a controversial tonic that's been marketed as a cure for a variety of illnesses, diseases and conditions, including AIDS, cancer and autism.

The 67-year-old B.C. man pleaded guilty to 17 charges under the act this week and was given a two-year conditional sentence and a two-year probation order. The remaining 12 charges against him were stayed. 

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada told CBC News it is the first conviction involving MMS in Canada. 

Health Canada has been warning about the dangers of the so-called Miracle Mineral Solution for years. MMS contains sodium chlorite, a chemical used mainly as a textile bleaching agent and disinfectant.

Health Canada has said ingesting it can cause serious health problems, including poisoning, kidney failure and harm to red blood cells.

The solution has been promoted by the Dominican Republic-based Genesis II Church, which lists MMS as one of its sacraments and claims that when sodium chlorite is diluted with water it can cure many of the world's diseases.

Genesis II Church's 'water purification drops,' containing 28 per cent sodium chlorite and distilled water. Health Canada says sodium chlorite can be harmful if ingested and has issued several warnings over the years. (Health Canada)

Some of the charges date back to 2012 when Nowak and his daughter Sara were alleged by Health Canada to have marketed, packaged and sold MMS in B.C. and Alberta "in a manner that was false, misleading or deceptive." 

The 20 Food and Drug Act charges that Sara Nowak of Okotoks, Alta., was facing were stayed in Vancouver provincial court this week. 

"At the sentencing hearing [for Stanley Nowak] the Crown and defence proposed a joint submission of a conditional sentence order of two years less a day followed by two years of probation. The court agreed and Mr. Nowak was sentenced accordingly," said a spokesperson for the prosecution service in an email to CBC News.

Nowak will be under house arrest for the first six months of his sentence and must abide by an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the remaining 18 months. He will be subject to electronic monitoring during the entire two-year sentence.

The court imposed a number of other conditions on him, including:

  • Prohibited from manufacturing, packaging or selling any drugs as drugs are defined under the Food and Drug Act.
  • Prohibited from possessing sodium chlorite, chlorine dioxide or powder citric acid.
  • Prohibited from counselling any person to sell or consume sodium chlorite.
  • Prohibited from making public or publishing any information respecting MMS, sodium chlorite, chlorine dioxide or citric acid on the internet.
  • Prohibited from communicating with Mark Grenon, Joseph Grenon or any other member of the Genesis II Church.

Nowak was also ordered to perform 240 hours of community service.

Health Canada issued a statement to CBC News:

"Health Canada is pleased with the outcome of this case. That outcome reflects the department's ongoing work to protect Canadians from unauthorized health products that pose serious health risks."

"The work that led to this successful prosecution illustrates Health Canada's commitment to taking action against individuals and activities that pose a risk to Canadians, by using all tools at its disposal."

A still image from the G2 Voice channel on YouTube. Bishop Jonathan Grenon, right, and CBC reporter Bryan Labby are captured on video by someone at the church's meeting in Calgary on March, 17, 2018. (YouTube)

The Genesis II Church held a seminar in Calgary in March sparking a review by Health Canada, which is still ongoing. 

Jonathan Grenon, whose father is named as an archbishop with the church, told CBC News at the time they were not selling or promoting MMS during the weekend seminar.

"We don't sell anything, I don't want to answer any more questions right now," said Grenon, who identified himself as a bishop with the Genesis II Church.

The church's website says it has 3,000 members in 135 countries, including Canada.

About the Author

Bryan Labby

Enterprise reporter

Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at bryan.labby@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.