Dispatch from the Autism/Pseudoscience Battlegrounds: Industrial Strength Bleaching

Source: Vice.com

…Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies, but…(it) can actively harm you in serious ways. That’s because it’s a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time; in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into “a potent bleach” that “can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration” if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina’s WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution—also known as following the “CD Protocol” (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as “rope worms” and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science)…

…MMS was “discovered” by a man named Jim Humble…who started his own church, called Genesis II…The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure…offer(ing) a host of supplementary materials like a $199 “MMS Home Video Course.” A bishop in Humble’s church, Kerri Rivera, is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children “hourly doses” of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to “kill pathogens in the brain.”

…(W)hile stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends…

One of Humble’s websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials. As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more “safe,” since making an account is required here.

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