The Food and Drug Administration has warned eight companies to stop marketing miracle cures that claim to treat everything from autism to Parkinson’s disease by flushing toxic metals from the body.

Regulators said the products, sold over the Internet, can cause dehydration, kidney failure and death. Known as chelation therapies, the products have been used for decades, although medical societies and government experts say there is no evidence they cure diseases.

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The only FDA-approved chelation therapies are used to treat lead and mercury poisoning.

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“These products are dangerously misleading because they are targeted to patients with serious conditions and limited treatment options,” said FDA’s Deborah Autor, director of compliance. “The FDA must take a firm stand against companies who prey on the vulnerability of patients seeking hope and relief.”

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