Tom Boggioni (Raw Story) posted an article today about parents who are trying to cure their children’s autism by giving them enemas “using a dangerous industrial solution used for bleaching wood pulp.” He said that some parents have turned to Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS). MMS is said to contain “sodium chlorite which is mixed with citric acid (i.e. orange juice) to make chlorine dioxide.” Boggioni added that the promoters of the MMS solution, which can be taken orally or administered via an enema, claim that it “can cure HIV, malaria, hepatitis, autism, acne, and cancer.”
Regarding MMS from Science Blogs:
What it is, in essence, is industrial strength bleach, 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water. It is frequently diluted in acidic juices, such as orange juice, resulting in the formation of chlorine dioxide, which is, as the FDA characterized it, “a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment.” According to its proponents, MMS can cure almost anything: cancer, AIDS, and just about any other serious disease you can imagine. Never mind that there is no biological plausibility and no evidence, either preclinical or clinical, that MMS can do what its proponents claim it can do. True, bleach can kill bacteria or cancer cells in a dish at a high enough concentration, but that doesn’t mean it’s a useful antibiotic or chemotherapeutic agent.
Emily Willingham wrote about MMS for Forbes:
MMS. It stands for Miracle Mineral Solution, but it’s really bleach. I know because I tested it myself, destroying a perfectly good cloth napkin in the process. Take a look at what it does to cotton.
Now imagine it on the inside of a child’s mouth, esophagus, stomach, or intestines–its peddlers encourage its administration as an enema. Horrorshow. Yet not only do parents try this bleach as a “treatment” for their children’s autism, but also a major autism conference actually featured a presenter flogging this stuff, and the claim that it “recovered” 38 children in 20 months remains on the conference site as I type this.
Boggioni said that MMS “is the brainchild of Jim Humble…” He said Humble “quit the Church of Scientology to form the Genesis II Church of Health & Healing in order to promote his ‘miracle’ cure in Africa and Mexico.” Boggioni noted that the Food and Drug Administration does not agree “with Humble’s claims and has posted a warning on their website calling the product ‘dangerous’ and ‘potentially life threatening,’ advising ‘drinking the amount recommended on product labels can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.’” In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency has warned “that chronic exposure to small doses of chlorine dioxide could result in reproductive and neurodevelopmental damage, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued guidance in the use of chlorine dioxide in the workplace.”
According to Boggioni, Kerri Rivera, the founder of the website CD Autism, “which promotes MMS, claims that autism is caused by yeast, parasites, viruses, and vaccines that can be flushed from the body.” He said Rivera has a Facebook page where she “keeps a running total of parents who have contacted her, saying MMS has ‘cured’ their children of autism.” Some parents reported that they have continued the MMS treatments “despite extreme vomiting, kicking, and hysterics when enemas are being administered.”
The Autism Science Foundation has discouraged parents from using bleach therapy on autistic children:
Bleach Therapy: In bleach therapy, an individual with ASD is given a diluted form of bleach orally or through an enema in an attempt to cure their symptoms. Bleach doses are given repeatedly; supporters of this treatment have recommended that children drink the bleach mixture up to eight times per day or receive an enema up to three times per week. The rationale for the treatment is that bleach can eliminate bacteria, parasites, yeast, and heavy metals and consequently eliminate ASD symptoms. This treatment has been widely denounced for the harm it can cause as well as its complete lack of scientific basis. Ingesting bleach can lead to severe fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and other complications.
The Autism Science Foundation has issued a warning to parents:
All parents want their children to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Unfortunately, as parents of children with autism strive to help their children they can fall victim to duplicitous claims that encourage them to try unsafe, expensive and ineffective non-evidence-based treatments. Before beginning any treatment, parents should question whether there is a coherent scientific rationale behind it, and think critically about its associated risks and benefits. They should also ask their healthcare practitioner whether the treatment has been proven effective and safe in objective scientific studies, and whether those studies have been published in well-established, highly reputable, peer-reviewed medical journals.
It is important to remember that anyone can start a journal or post a study on the Internet to tout the efficacy of dangerous or useless interventions. Healthcare fraud is a huge business in the US, and parents of children with autism are often targeted. Fringe treatment providers prey on desperation and fear, and deceive parents with numerous unfounded claims.
I’d say that this is truly a horror story. How could any parents think that this kind of bleach treatment would not be detrimental to their children’s health? Would you consider MMS treatments to be a form of child abuse?
The lowest of the low: Trying to bleach autism away (Science Blogs)
The 5 Scariest Autism ‘Treatments’ (Forbes)
Beware of Non-Evidence-Based Treatments (Autism Science Foundation)