An evangelical pastor who briefly shot to fame in 2015 for recording a rap song in support of Sen. Ted Cruz is now selling industrial-strength bleach tablets to parents and has admitted that many of his customers are using the product to treat autism in their children.
Joe Salant, who grew up in an affluent New Jersey family, became a born-again Christian after coming out of drug rehab when he was in his early twenties, having spent six months in jail for drug possession. Recently, he has become part of the American Renewal Project, which aims to have a pastor from “every church in America” run for elected office by 2024. Salant preaches a Christian nationalist ideology that positions the church at the heart of all aspects of American society.
In his spare time he continues to release rap records with titles like “Human Sacrifices” and “Dies in Vain,” in which he raps about child trafficking.
In recent months he’s taken on a new role as the U.S representative for a company called Safrax, which markets chlorine dioxide tablets that are advertised on the company’s website as industrial products for odor removal, disinfection, and as cleaners for hot tubs and jacuzzis.
But over the phone, Salant said many people are using the treatments in an attempt to treat autism in children.
“Autism? Yeah, I mean it’s a common treatment,” Salant said, according to a recording of a phone call obtained by Ireland-based activist Fiona O’Leary and shared with VICE News. “We’re not allowed to recommend [our products] for it specifically but yeah, the protocols in the Andreas Kalcker book [which] we have on our website… it’s commonly used for that.”
“Autism? Yeah, I mean it’s a common treatment. We’re not allowed to recommend [our products] for it specifically but yeah.”
Andreas Kalcker is one of the most notorious promoters of the pseudoscientific conspiracy theory that a form of bleach, known within that community as a miracle mineral solution (MMS) can be used as a treatment for a wide range of ailments, including cancer, HIV, and autism. In 2021, Argentinian authorities charged Kalcker with selling fake medicines to cure COVID-19 after a 5-year-old boy died from suspected chlorine dioxide poisoning. The case has yet to go to trial.
Safrax is the latest company to profit off the belief that ingesting industrial grade bleach can have health benefits, a conspiracy spread for years by conspiracy influencers like Kalcker and Jim Humble, who died earlier this month aged 99. Despite repeated warnings from the FDA about the dangers of using these so-called miracle mineral solutions (MMS), companies continue to cash in on vulnerable people searching for a cure for their ailments.
If you have any information about people using Safrax or any other type of chlorine dioxide to ‘treat’ ailments and would like to share the details with. VICE News, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other public health bodies have repeatedly warned against the use of chlorine dioxide, labeling it “a powerful bleaching agent that has caused serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.”
“These bleachers are health terrorists, preying on the most vulnerable in our communities and making big profit poisoning people—the police, authorities must do more,” O’Leary, who has autistic children and has been campaigning against peddlers of chlorine dioxide for a decade, told VICE News. “Autistic children are being abused. Cancer patients are being poisoned and often walk away from scientifically proven treatments to ingest this lethal bleach. I watch these people die. It is heartbreaking.”
“Autistic children are being abused. Cancer patients are being poisoned and often walk away from scientifically proven treatments to ingest this lethal bleach.”
But for the Delaware-registered Safrax, which is now being promoted on Facebook and Telegram channels dedicated to sharing information about chlorine dioxide, business is booming.
A message on the Safrax website informs customers that there is a 2-4 week delay in sending out orders specifically due to overwhelming demand for the product as a result of the tablets being featured on the radio show of pseudoscience conspiracist Mike Adams.
Adams, who calls himself the Health Ranger, founded the notorious fake health news website NaturalNews, and has links to far-right figure Alex Jones and the extremist groups the Oath Keepers.
Salant claimed on the customer phone call that Safrax has no official relationship with Adams, but added that “we’re fans” of his show. This is a claim backed up by Safrax owner Steve Dan, who told VICE News via email that he had never heard of Adams prior to his mentioning Safrax on his show.
However, it is easy to see the impact that Adams’ endorsement has had: Some Adams listeners reported on private Facebook groups dedicated to sharing information about using bleach as medication that they bought the product after hearing his show.
In a post reviewed by VICE News, one purchaser wrote that she had taken the Safrax tablets and was now feeling unwell. “I can’t find any information about the dosage of the tablets… and I am currently sick. I tried dissolving one in a gallon [of water] and it tastes like pure bleach. I just wanna get well.”
“I can’t find any information about the dosage of the tablets… and I am currently sick. I tried dissolving one in a gallon [of water] and it tastes like pure bleach. I just wanna get well.”
Another member of the group responded by linking to the Safrax website, where the company recommends adding 30 tablets to a gallon of water. However, the original poster pointed out this dosage was for industrial use, adding: “I just don’t want to kill myself by drinking too much.”
Safrax was founded in 2011 by Dan, a French national who is also known as Steve Jean-Paul Dan. In 2005 he was arrested on three counts of felony financial transaction card fraud the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia confirmed to VICE News, and that case remains open to this day. Dan told VICE News he wasn’t aware the case was still open, and claimed he was arrested “merely because I was in the company of my friend who got arrested.”
For the last decade, Safrax has sold its chlorine dioxide tablets, which are produced in China, wholesale, marketing them as industrial cleaning products. Despite the recent popularity of his products within the bleacher community, Dan claims the company is not suggesting people use their products to cure medical issues.
“We explicitly advise against using our chlorine dioxide tablets for the treatment of any diseases or medical conditions,” Dan said. “If any such claims were made by Mr. Salant, that would not represent the views or recommendations of Safrax. We will investigate this internally and make the proper corrections.”
However the presence of Kalcker’s book on the company’s website suggests otherwise. The book, “Forbidden Health,” is one of the most widely read publications in the bleacher community, and contains an exhaustive list of the ailments Kalcker claims can be cured with bleach.
Dan dismissed the book’s presence on the Safrax site, telling VICE News it was there as “an effective SEO tool to enhance our site’s visibility.” On the phone call with O’Leary, Salant said he had read Kalcker’s book and “appreciates his work.”
When questioned about the credibility of Safrax’s owners in the phone call with a customer, Salant defends his boss, calling him a “very reputable person.” However, as well as the arrest in Georgia in 2005, a court in Hong Kong last year found that Dan had acted fraudulently by misappropriating bitcoins belonging to someone else. Dan told VICE News that the ruling “occurred because I couldn’t afford to hire an attorney.”
Salant said the company was planning on expanding its reach to Europe this month, but currently only ships to the United States and Canada. But, he said, many European customers are already circumventing this restriction by getting people living in the U.S. to purchase the tablets and mail them to Europe.
The tablets are stored in a distribution center in Green Bay, Wisconsin, according to Salant. But due to their recent increase in popularity among individuals rather than companies, he told VICE News, Safrax has found a new distribution center in Texas, which is due to open soon.
In an apparent attempt to make the company appear legitimate, Safrax has also sold its products with the logo of certification company NSF on its packaging, denoting that the brand has been accredited by the organization and is guaranteed safe. Dan claims that the company in the past had accreditation from NSF but had stopped in 2021 due to the high cost of maintaining it.
When asked to provide evidence of this certification, Dan failed to produce it, though admitted the company should not still be selling products with the NSF logo on its website.
NSF didn’t respond to VICE News’ request for comment but a notice published on the NSF website last year warned Safrax to remove the logo from its packaging.
The FDA declined to comment when VICE News asked if the agency was investigating Safrax for selling chlorine dioxide to people using it to treat autism or other ailments.
Multiple phone numbers listed on the Safrax website went unanswered when VICE News attempted to contact Salant this week, playing a recorded message from Salant asking customers to leave a message or send an email.
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