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PSA: Please Do Not Try to Bleach the Autism Out of Your Child

Perhaps children need to come with instructions?

The online autism community is abuzz with the revelation that at this year’s AutismOne conference, a speaker endorsed the use of a product called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) as an enema and oral “supplement” to treat autism because it “chelates toxic compounds out of the body”.

Miracle Mineral Solution is, according to its own website, made of chlorine dioxide. Chlorine dioxide, a chemical used to treat wastewater and bleach wood pulp for paper, is so toxic that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employees who will use chlorine dioxide receive pre-employment medical evaluations.

You’d think it would go without saying that administering chlorine dioxide as an enema or by dropper into the mouth of a person with autism would not be a good idea. You’d think so, but then you’d be wrong.

Even though the Food and Drug Administration released two separate warnings about Miracle Mineral Solution back in 2010, the product is still out there. Activists have started an online petition calling for the FDA and Federal Trade Commission “to order 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.”

The product’s creator, Jim Humble, says that MMS has cured tens of thousands of people of malaria, and also cures “AIDS, hepatitis A,B and C, herpes, TB, most cancer, and many more of mankind’s worse diseases.”  His website does not mention autism. However, at the recent AutismOne conference, a woman named Kerri Rivera gave a presentation about using MMS to treat autism; in her speech she outlined the protocol she used to “to help recover 40 children from a diagnosis of autism” at her clinic in Mexico. (Video of her presentation is available here.)

On a separate website, the MMS Defense Fund is collecting donations to “set up to fight the FDA and their attempts to make criminals out of people involved with MMS.” A post dated May 29, 2012 says that the fund has collected roughly $10,000 but needs $2 million to “to turn this fight into an all-out war against the FDA” and make “the FDA tremble.”

Incidentally, that website also offers links to “take our seminar to become a D.MMS (Doctor of MMS) or Reverend of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing,” where apparently Mr. Humble is an Archbishop.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued two warnings against using MMS in 2010 (one in July and one in October). Those warnings, however, were against taking the product internally and didn’t mention the product as an enema.

The FDA’s July warning says:

The product instructs consumers to mix the 28 percent sodium chlorite solution with an acid such as citrus juice. This mixture produces chlorine dioxide, a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment. High oral doses of this bleach, such as those recommended in the labeling, can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.

In October, FDA expert Charles Lee, M.D. said both sodium chlorite and chlorine dioxide are the active ingredients in disinfectants, and they have many other industrial uses.

Government agencies in several other countries, including AustraliaBelgiumCanada, KenyaNew Zealand, and United Kingdom have issued warnings against using MMS.

MMS proponents say that any injuries or illnesses that arise from using MMS are from users taking too much of the product, and point to negative side effects of traditional medicines as well. The makers of MMS say that nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are evidence that the product is working. At the same time, users are also warned to decrease their dose if they have negative side effects.  “Always stay just below the level where it is making you sick,” the website cautions. “This has not been proven to be advantageous.”

The irony of that advice, of course, is that there are no peer-reviewed, scientific studies proving that anything about MMS is advantageous. The Genesis 2 Church website points to a National Institutes of Health study saying that sodium chloride is safe to ingest. However, the site fails to point out that when you mix sodium chloride with citric acid, as instructed when making the Miracle Mineral Solution, it turns into chlorine dioxide, which is industrial bleach.

Jim Humble says that “scientific clinical trials have been conducted in a prison in the country of Malawi, East Africa,” with a “99% cure rate.” The ethics of force-feeding bleach to prisoners in a third-world country aside, the study data  is mysteriously unavailable.

How in the world can a person go from ‘trace amounts of toxins in vaccines, too small to see, are harming our children’ to ‘here honey, drink this stuff that CAN KILL YOU!’?

I understand the desperation parents feel. I truly do. But I cannot wrap my brain around being so horribly desperate to “fix” your child that you would consider making him drink bleach. Or bathing him in it. Or giving it to him as an enema.

MMS’s supporters say that the FDA is influenced by Big Pharma, and that pharmaceutical companies don’t stand to profit from the cost-effective treatment. Bleach, after all, is damn cheap. But someone is making money off Miracle Mineral Solution. Jim Humble is. The Genesis 2 Church is. And every single distributor of the product is.

I don’t understand how proponents of MMS, who are the same people who say that vaccines introduce toxic, poisonous chemicals into children’s bodies, can advocate putting a different poisonous chemical into children’s bodies. Stuart Duncan, writer of the blog Autism From a Father’s Perspective, wrote “How in the world can a person go from ‘trace amounts of toxins in vaccines, too small to see, are harming our children’ to ‘here honey, drink this stuff that CAN KILL YOU!’?”

As I write this, my four beautiful children are playing near me. I look at my two amazing children who happen to be autistic, and I can’t imagine giving them a product with such an obvious potential for harm. I weep when I think of children being given this product, and that their vomiting and diarrhea will be taken as signs of efficacy. Some of these children are nonverbal, and can’t even say “Mommy, stop, you’re hurting me.”

Read more from Joslyn at her blog stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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