Desperate parents are turning to dangerous “cures” when it comes to autism, so much so that some are willing to have their children take a bleach product orally or by way of enema in hopes of eliminating autistic symptoms. These parents are deliberately putting their children’s health at risk, and the numbers are shocking.
The bleach enema autism cure is better known as the MMS treatment, named for the product being used, Miracle Mineral Supplement. MMS was developed by Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church out of which he championed the “miracle” product.
The church and its officers suggest MMS can cure autism if children are given hourly doses to “kill pathogens in the brain.” A report from VICE notes Humble and his church goers don’t actually sell MMS themselves, but rather sell instructional videos and consultations regarding the product’s use for autism.
MMS for autism is given orally or by way of an enema–whichever the parent feels is best.
Of course, there are some serious issues with this rumored autism cure. First, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued numerous warnings about MMS, stating in one press release: “MMS claims to treat multiple unrelated diseases, including HIV, hepatitis, the H1N1 flu virus, common colds, acne, cancer, and other conditions. The FDA is not aware of any research that MMS is effective in treating any of these conditions. MMS also poses a significant health risk to consumers who may choose to use this product for self-treatment instead of seeking FDA-approved treatments for these conditions. “
The health risks to people taking MMS occur because when mixed with citrus juice as instructed on the label, the product turns into chlorine dioxide, a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment. Individuals taking MMS as directed on the label often experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.
If the thought of swallowing or taking an enema of bleach wasn’t enough of a deterrent, the fact that autism is not a pathogen-based illness should be the second reason to avoid this bogus treatment. Autism, according to the Autism Society, can not be traced to any singular cause; however, it is a disorder related to differences in the shape and structure of the brain. Most experts agree the condition is a combination of genetics, heredity, other medical conditions and exposure to environmental toxins.
Emily Willingham, a science writer specializing in MMS topics, explained to VICE that the same people who believe in MMS treatment also tend to be against traditional medical interventions, like vaccines.
“One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a ‘leaky gut’ is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that ‘need’ to be treated,” she said. “Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can’t bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood.”
Some of the bleach enema movement is the result of a lack of knowledge regarding MMS. Not everyone knows it changes into bleach, and parents looking for natural or alternative autism treatments may be drawn to it based on all the supportive information there is making rounds on the Internet.
The FDA says stay away from the treatment completely, also cautioning parents against these other alternative autism therapies:
- Chelation Therapies. These products claim to cleanse the body of toxic chemicals and heavy metals by binding to them and removing them from circulation. They come in a number of forms, including sprays, suppositories, capsules, liquid drops and clay baths. FDA-approved chelating agents are approved for specific uses, such as the treatment of lead poisoning and iron overload, and are available by prescription only. FDA-approved prescription chelation therapy products should only be used under medical supervision. Chelating important minerals needed by the body can lead to serious and life-threatening outcomes.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber and has been cleared by FDA for certain medical uses, such as treating decompression sickness suffered by divers. It has not been cleared for autism, among other conditions.
- Detoxifying Clay Baths. Added to bath water, these products claim to draw out chemical toxins, pollutants and heavy metals from the body, falsely offering dramatic improvement for autism symptoms.
- Coconut kefir and other probiotic products. These marketed products claim to treat autism and gastrointestinal illnesses associated with autism. They have not been proven safe and effective for these advertised uses.