Why some parents give bleach to their children and what’s being done about it?
Posted on June 12, 2019 by Ann
What is MMS?
Over the past few years, you may have seen or heard such sensational headlines as:
“Parents are poisoning their children with bleach to ‘cure’ autism”
The “bleach” mentioned in these stories is a product called Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS). It is also known as
- Miracle Mineral Solution,
- Master Mineral Solution, or
- the CD protocol.
MMS was popularized by a controversial religious group in the U.S., the Genesis II Church. The founder Jim Humble was a former scientologist.
Jim Humble and other supporters and distributors for MMS claim that it can treat numerous diseases, including HIV, cancer, and autism. They believe, amongst other things, that autism was caused by pathogens and parasites.
However, there is no scientific basis for these claims and no controlled research studies on this treatment MMS is in fact chlorine dioxide, which is an industrial chemical is used for for bleaching and stripping textiles, pulp and paper. When it is not used according to safety guidelines, it can cause eye irritation, irritation to the respiratory system, nausea, diarrhea and dehydration. (Details about the chemical components here.)
According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this product “when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health“.
So … Are These People Idiots?
My little daughter peeked over my shoulder as I was writing this article. “What’s MMS, mummy?” she asked.
I let her read the section above (“What is MMS”) and watched her as she processed the information.
Her eyes widened, she backed away a few steps and then she declared with the certainty of a child, “These people are idiots.”
Yes, so it seems. Even a child knows not to give children bleach, so why would anyone in their right mind do so?
But the reason they did it is simple.
These parents did not receive the same message we received. The people who sold them MMS did not tell them “Hey, go poison your kids with bleach.”
No, the parents were told, literally:
- “Autism: Avoidable. Treatable. Curable.“
- “A total of 557 children have so far been recovered (ATEC score of 10 or below) using the CD Autism protocol!”
- “Chlorine Dioxide, which is an inexpensive, broad spectrum, gentle, anti-pathogenic.”
- “I want to tell you about a breakthrough that can save your life, or the life of a loved one“
- “it has proven to restore partial or full health to hundreds of thousands of people suffering from a wide range of diseases [including cancer, HIV and autism]”
- “It is important to note that MMS does not cure disease. MMS is an oxidizer, it kills pathogens and destroys poisons.”
- “MMS cures malaria; it’s been proven by the Red Cross.” (Red Cross has issued a statement denying the association.)
- “There is a 2018 research study that proves the effectiveness of sodium chlorite against malaria.” (The university has stated that its medical faculty had reviewed the study and found it “scientifically worthless, contradictory and in part ethically problematic”.)
- “…Chlorine dioxide…has the amazing ability to remove electrons from diseased tissue and pathogenic stressors”
- “safe and stable“
(Sources: websites promoting MMS)
No mention of bleach anywhere.
The fact is people who sell MMS as a “miracle cure” holds up a proverbial lamp of hope beside the golden door to vulnerable folks (not just parents of children with autism, but also people who are battling critical illnesses like cancer).
It might be that these people could not have helped being drawn to MMS. It might be because of their upbringing, their environment, their emotional states and most of all, because the MMS message was probably what they needed at the time.
It doesn’t help that sometimes, MMS is recommended by friends or trusted religious leaders from Genesis II Church.
As Carol Povey, director of NAS’s Centre for Autism, said: “We know how difficult life can be for families affected by autism, particularly just before and after diagnosis when there’s so much uncertainty and, in some cases, no understanding or support from public services and people around them. Some families end up feeling so isolated and disillusioned that they’re desperate for anything that might help, which can leave them vulnerable to the dangerous claims of quacks and charlatans.”
As parents, when we consider potential treatments for our children, we really should bear in mind that it isn’t a case where we have nothing to lose. Time, money and most of all, our children’s health and well-being are at stake. Therefore, it is our responsibility to evaluate pseudoscientific treatments clearly and carefully.
Here are some ways we can spot a fake therapy.
Meanwhile, the biggest issue still lies with the people who irresponsibly promote and sell unsubstantiated and potentially harmful “miracle cures”.
What Can We Do About It?
The good news is that at every level, people are taking active and constructive steps to prevent MMS from doing more damage.
1. Government Agencies
Warnings and Bans
Various governmental agencies have taken steps to issue warnings against MMS. Here are a few examples:
- United States: Food and Drug Administration,
- United Kingdom: Food Standards Agency
- Australia: Department of Health
- New Zealand: Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority
- Canada: Health Canada
Investigative and Legal Actions
In addition, various governments have also taken steps to investigate and take legal or enforcement actions to protect the public from this potentially dangerous products. Here are some examples:
- United States: In 2015, a man was sentenced to 51 months in prison for selling MMS online.
- United Kingdom: In 2018, police officers investigated cases where children were made to take MMS;
- Canada: In 2018, a distributor was convicted for the promotion of MMS online.
- Ireland: In 2019, an Irish High Court imposed conditions on a dentist’s registration for supplying and selling MMS.
(Source: Photo by Taliesin)
2. Medical Professionals and Scientific Researchers
The scientific basis for the toxicity of chlorine dioxide comes from the works of researchers and medical professionals.
- Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH) for Chlorine Dioxide
- Chlorine Dioxide – Hazardous Substances Data Bank
- Acute Sodium Chlorite Poisoning Associated with Renal Failure
Even now, more research is being done. For example, our doctors from Changi General Hospital have also published a paper on MMS:
- Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease presenting after consumption of ‘Miracle Mineral Solution’ (sodium chlorite)
Some scientists and academics have also spoken up to explain their concerns about this treatment:
“Throughout human history, the helping professions – medicine, psychology, education – have operated under many ethical guidelines and codes of conduct. But one singular, defining, and unwavering principle has been, do no harm. Providers of services understand that, fundamentally, we cannot behave in ways that will harm – physically, psychologically, or otherwise – the people whom we serve. This is part of the “DNA” of medical and social services. This core value is lacking in the proponents of drinking bleach for a cure of or treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).“
(Source: Is there Science Behind That? Bleach Therapy )
3. Non-Profit Organisations
Westminster Commission Autism
They have also produced useful marketing materials to warn consumers, such as the following guidelines by Westminster Commission on Autism:
National Autistic Society
The National Autistic Society (NAS) came up with a really smart move. They run a Google advertising campaign that directs searches for such products to their own web pages with accurate information.
4. Private Organisations
Private organisations have also pitched in. Here are some examples:
A number of media companies have actively ran investigations on MMS. Here are the stories:
- BBC London: Story on a MMS seller
- Business Insider: Story about a network of YouTube videos promoting Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS)
- ABC News: Story on Jim Humble
- The Guardian: Story on how an American pastor is running a network that gives up to 50,000 Ugandans MMS
After Business Insider highlighted the videos to Youtube, YouTube removed and downranked most of the videos that promoted MMS, banned the channels hosting them and updated its search algorithms to avoid those content.
According to Huffpost, Facebook has taken the stand that pages promoting or providing instructions for making or using non-medical drugs such as MMS will be removed. This requirement is a little specific, so the Facebook pages for the supporters of MMS still exist.
In March and May 2019, Amazon removed listings for books promoting “cures” for autism, such as MMS and chelation. This is reportedly in response to a flag by a reporter from Wired.
5. Individual Activists
In fact, some of the momentum rising against MMS might not have worked without the passionate work of individual activists such as Emma Dalmayne and Fiona O’Leary. Both are mothers who noticed the usage of MMS amongst other parents of children who autism on Facebook and who then actively campaigned against the use of MMS and mistreatment of people with autism.
All In Actions
I started this article thinking about the circumstances under which parents might give their children bleach. As I carried out the research, I found that if one is a parent who was not exposed to such sensational and scary headlines, the argument for MMS can be more insidious and persuasive than one would think.
There is currently a whole slew of negative emotions (anger, disgust, derision) directed towards the parents who give their children MMS. People have called these parents various names – idiots, child abusers, evil anti-vaxxers and so on.
But let’s not forget that it is only through the actions of the government agencies, medical professionals and scientific researchers, non-profit organisations, private organisations, and individuals that we are now more aware about the dangers of this “miracle cure”.
Instead of directing our vitriol at those parents, it seems that there are other things that can be done. Therefore, it is great to see how everyone at every level have come All In and have taken active steps to put a stop to MMS.
MMS is not going to be the end of the story. There are many other dangerous or fake “miracle cures” appearing all the time from turpentine to borax to goodness knows what else. It will be a never-ending fight, but with continuous efforts from everyone and the help of information technology, surely it will get harder and harder for false information to take root.
For more details about the dangers of MMS, please see: