When Emily Willingham started seeing tweets about the use of Miracle Mineral Solution to “treat” autism, she almost couldn’t stand to read about it. Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), when prepared according to instructions, is chlorine dioxide, a chemical used in treating wastewater and in bleaching wood pulp for paper. It is an industrial-strength bleach.
“I read the headlines and couldn’t stand to click,” said Dr. Willingham, who holds a Ph.D. in biology and is the science editor for The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. “I mean, the headlines say it all, and just reading them was painful. But finally, I read a thorough breakdown of the presentation at AutismOne that started this current brouhaha and the history of applying MMS–a.k.a. industrial-strength bleach solution — at Science-Based Medicine.
“There, I finally forced myself to watch the video of the AutismOne presentation, which was extremely difficult. As I was watching, I was also talking with Jennifer Byde Myers on my Facebook page. In what turned into a 45-comment exchange on Facebook, Jennifer suggested a Change.org petition, and we moved forward with that.”
Both Dr. Willingham and Ms. Myers have children on the spectrum and are among the co-founders of The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. Dr. Willingham self-identifies as a woman on the autism spectrum.
Both Dr. Willingham and Ms. Myers feel strongly that AutismOne shouldn’t be endorsing, even implicitly by allowing the presentation at the conference, a product that holds a strong FDA warning.
“We felt that the fact that AutismOne could allow a presentation like that, one that clearly shilled a dangerous, unproven intervention with false claims of ‘curing’ autism, required the attention of federal authorities, both in the US and Mexico,” said Dr. Willingham. “Kerri Rivera, who made the AutismOne presentation–introduced, I add, by a woman wearing a t-shirt that read, ‘MMS ROCKS!’–peddles MMS from where she lives in Mexico.”
When I wrote about Miracle Mineral Solution earlier this week, there was a huge amount of information to sift through. Every time I clicked on another website, I found something else odd: the fact that Jim Humble, creator of MMS, says that the product has been successfully tested on prisoners in Malawi (although the Malawi government denies knowledge of this); that Mr. Humble is also an archbishop in The Genesis 2 Church of Health and Healing; and that for a fee, you can attend a seminar to become either a minister in his church or the holder of the title of D.MMS. — “Doctor of Miracle Mineral Solution.” Those seminars are held in Mexico and Ecuador, probably because practicing medicine without a license is a felony in the United States.
Unless I’m writing a purely opinion piece about autism (such as my open letter to Jenny McCarthy), I strive to include the voices of adults and young people on the spectrum in my posts. I didn’t do that for my first post about MMS, and I see that as a major fail on my part.
I’m rectifying that today. Because many of the children being forced to ingest, bathe in, or receive enemas of MMS are nonverbal, and therefore cannot voice their opinions on this matter, it’s all the more important to hear the thoughts of those who can say what they think.
Below, in their own words, are the thoughts of six prominent, thoughtful, and eloquent adults who happen to have Autism Spectrum Disorders. Having the opportunity to speak with and correspond with these people has been, thus far, the highlight of my work here at Strollerderby. I’m pretty sure I embarrassed myself with my fangirl gushing on the phone with Pulitzer Prize winner Tim Page about his letter to the New York Times last February. (Yes, that’s exactly the kind of geek I am. I get fangirl over letters to the editor.)
And despite my neurotypical status (or “nypical” as John Elder Robison would say), I just may have flapped my hands a bit when Mr. Robison e-mailed me back.
Take a moment to scroll through and read the words of these individuals. If you are a parent of a child on the spectrum, take note of the fact that while they all advocate supporting children and adults with autism with tools to help them navigate the neurotypical world, not one of them wishes to be cured.
Click the arrow to the right of the photo to view the next slide.
The online petition started by Dr. Willingham and Ms. Myers, asking the FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “to order a cease and desist on selling, recommending, or administering Miracle Mineral Supplement, also known as MMS or sodium dichlorite solution (industrial strength bleach), as ‘curative’ for children with autism when used orally, in baths, or in repeatedly administered enemas” is available here.
More from Joslyn:
PSA: Please Do Not Try to Bleach the Autism Out of Your Children
Posing for Playboy Does Not Raise Autism Awareness
Court Decision: Jackson, Miss. Schools Banned From Using Handcuffs as Punishment
DSM-5 Changes Aren’t Limited to Autism; Final Feedback Sought
MORE ON BABBLE:
Babble’s 30 best autism Facebook fan pages
Is autism really on the rise? New study says no
Babble names the top 30 autism spectrum blogs
The CDC’s autism rate increase reflected in my house
Why I’m not freaking out about the new autism diagnostic changes