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May 28 2012

Bleaching away the autism

Annals of horror. “Recovering” children from autism by dosing them with MMS, “Miracle Mineral Solution” aka bleach.

Basically, MMS is 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water. In essence, MMS is equivalent to industrial strength bleach. Proponents recommend diluting MMS in either water or a food acid, such as lemon juice, which results in the formation of chlorine dioxide.

MMS is what got Rhys Morgan started on his anti-quackery career, when he encountered people online recommending it for Crohn’s disease.

David Gorski has learned that now people are recommending it for autism.

Autism One, whose organizers claim that their conference is “all about the science,” featured a talk by a woman whose preferred form of therapy, besides hyperbaric oxygen, is to subject autistic children to industrial bleach in the deluded belief that she can “recover” autism with it. Rivera runs a clinic in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico that she calls AutismO2 Clinica Hyperbarica. If her website is any indication, Rivera gives autistic children MMS by mouth and by enema. (Yes, she subjects autistic children to bleach enemas.)

Does it make them be not autistic? No.

This is also the second time that I’ve seen autism quacks subjecting autistic children to what is, in essence, potentially nasty industrial chemicals. A couple of years ago, disgraced chemistry professor and mercury warrior Boyd Haley pumped autistic children full of an industrial chelator, claiming it was a “supplement.” Ultimately, Haley drew the attention of the FDA, which shut him down. Now, we’re seeing quacks douse autistic children in bleach, pump their colons full of it, and feed it to them until they start to have fevers and diarrhea, believing that the diarrhea and fever are evidence that the bleach is working to reverse autism. The diarrhea and fever might well be working to do something, but reversing autism is not part of that something. Making children sick is.

Horror.

Thanks to Rhys for alerting me to this new annal.

13 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    The mind boggles.

    Nothing like giving your kid a toxic enema to “recover” the autism.

  2. 2
    DLC

    But, it’s *just a supplement*!

    Want a *fun* demonstration ? drop some of the “supplement” into a small quantity of Ammonia. small quantity. and have a respirator ready.

    (note: for entertainment purposes only. consult a real chemist before attempting. do not try this at home. For all that, do not try this at all, as the results are a cloud of chlorine gas.)

  3. 3
    Bernard Hurley

    MMS is probably “natural” too. Have you noticed that anything “natural” has to be “good for you”? (As an aside, I came across this attitude from some of the Take the Flour Back people at Rothamsted on Sunday. I am writing something up about this but it might take a couple of days as I am very busy.)

  4. 4
    Alyson Miers

    By “shut him down,” does that mean he was merely forced out of business, or was he arrested for child endangerment? Because I think that’s an offense worthy of incarceration.

  5. 5
    mxh

    Aren’t there laws against child abuse?

  6. 6
    Bernard Hurley

    Laws against child abuse? Hoe can it be child abuse to administer something miraculous?

  7. 7
    mxh

    This is not miraculous.

  8. 8
    sailor1031

    As a society we seem to be determined to roll back the clock to the early 1800s when unfettered capitalism, exploitation and knavery were the norm. What, one wonders, has been the point of all the advances in scientific and sociological knowledge if criminals are still allowed to roam the land selling poison as medicine (or selling austerity as good economics, or promoting war as a solution to international disagreement, or ignorance instead of education, or religion instead of rationality, hate instead of tolerance, or….occasionally, when it all gets too depressing, I think I’m glad I don’t have all that much time left!

  9. 9
    EmbraceYourInnerCrone

    Ah yes the its “natural so it can’t be bad for you” fallacy. When people tell me this about supplements or herbal cures, I reply with: Arsenic is natural, radon is natural, toadstools are natural, that doesn’t make them safe. Don’t get me wrong, do I prefer my food as close to pesticide free as possible, of course. Do I prefer my milk and meat as free of hormones and antibiotics as possible, yes. But when it comes to medication I prefer something that’s been thoroughly tested, with quantifiable results.

    Not to mention the fact that autism appears to be a disorder in a persons neural development, with a strong possibility of a genetic component. It is not a “disease” that can be “cured”.

  10. 10
    Ophelia Benson

    Excellent about writing up, Bernard. I’m looking forward to it. (But patiently! You’re busy.)

  11. 11
    Steve Bell

    I don’t think you can produce chlorine dioxide by such a simple action as adding lemon juice to bleach. If that were so, Everyone Would Be Doing It – or at least every wannabe terrorist. ClO2 is very unstable and dangerously explosive.

    Thankfully, it’s not that easy to make.

    That doesn’t invalidate your main point, of course; giving bleach to children is abuse.

  12. 12
    Syl

    And this is supposed to rearrange brain “wiring”, relieve sensory overload, and assist in socialization — how? Good night in the morning. Such obscene quackery deserves some nice stiff jail time.

  13. 13
    tielserrath

    I really wonder about the parents who do this. Not just the gullibility – that’s a given – but their willingness to put a child through repeated, unpleasant experiences for months or years.

    I’m starting to conclude that it’s a power trip, something they justify with the ‘it’s for their own good’ lie. I think the parents who gravitate to this kind of stuff have, in many cases, a worrying psychopathology, and I weep for their children.

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