Why Mothers Are Trying To ‘Cure’ Their Kids’ Autism With Bleach
In a time of media uncertainty, it seems that misinformation is the real disease.
Let me tell you a little about MMS.
MMS (otherwise known as Mineral Miracle Supplement) was discovered by Jim Humble, an ex-member of the Church of Scientology who went on to form his own religious organization called Genesis II. Humble claims that this ‘miracle’ solution is an effective cure for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and some cancers. It was even shipped to Uganda by the Genisis II Church to assist in malaria relief.
Essentially, the science behind the ‘cure’ is that it kills pathogens and eliminates poisons in the body. Once the body is purified of toxins it is believed that it can more effectively heal itself, thus aiding in the cure of potentially fatal illnesses.
Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is.
MMS is made up primarily of industrial bleach. That’s right, this stuff:
Consumption of MMS has been linked to multiple deaths and more injuries as you are essentially ‘drinking poison‘. You would think this is enough to deter anyone from ingesting the solution but thousands of people, desperate for health solutions are looking to this DIY ‘medicine’. MMS has been banned in Ireland and Canada, and the US Food and Drug Administration has warned of potentially life-threatening side effects, such as kidney failure, fatal dehydration and vomiting
So why are people administering bleach to their children?
Kerri Rivera has been the driving force that brought MMS to the autism community. Rivera, who is NOT a medical professional, has written a book full of ‘teachings’ about her experimentation with MMS, claiming it cured her son’s autism.
“Disappointed’ that there wasn’t more information online, Rivera set out to spread the word through Facebook, YouTube, and Skype. Videos that preach the benefits of MMS, and even DIY recipes for it, have been immensely popular, with the top 20 reaching 3 million people (most of whom are likely to be desperate parents). Some even regard her as a ‘savior’ due to claims she has cured over 500 children of autism with her bleach solution.
This all came to light recently after two women went undercover in parenting groups on Facebook, where they discovered the cult-like community of MMS advocates
Parenting forums are full of comments regarding the awful side effects of the so-called ‘miracle solution’, with reports of children being forced to take MMS despite excessive vomiting and screaming. Parents are now even being reported to child services for being irresponsible and effectively forcing their children to ingest poison.
If you were one of the many thousands of people considering MMS as a viable treatment for any ailment, be it AIDS, cancer or autism – think again.
A deadly ‘cure’
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports 16,521 instances of chlorine dioxide poisoning caused by consumption of MMS. Two-thousand-and-five-hundred of those cases involved children below the age of 12. Fifty of these cases were found to be life-threatening, with MMS linked to at least eight deaths.
If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering how we got here.
How did we get to a place where parents listen to the advice of a Facebook forum rather than a medical professional?
Perpetrators of medical misinformation, such as Kerri Rivera, appear to target vulnerable parents who are seeking support online. Sifting through autism help groups, they spread their message with an evangelistic conviction that makes the viability of MMS seem pretty darn believable.
One only has to look to the disturbing popularity of the anti-vaxx movement for evidence of just how effective targeting vulnerable parents with false information and scare tactics is.
Repeated exposure to these so-called self-help solutions, as well as the proliferation of faked ‘testimonials’ from converts, has driven many desperate parents to try extreme measures to help their children.
Knowing to to trust
Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D and chief of digital innovation at the Seattle Children’s Hospital encourages interaction with other parents online but warns not to “confuse experience with expertise”.
Accredited websites such as the National Institute of Health and Medlineplus.gov are government funded and offer medical advice that is much more accurate than a Facebook forum. It is recommended that when looking for medical advice online you critically ask where the information is coming from and who the author of the website is.
Emily Webber, M.D., vice chair of the AAP Council on Clinical Information Technology advises that using social media is not appropriate in emergency situations. It’s important to remember that a lot of the advice is coming from other parents, and not medical professionals.
If you are ever in doubt, seek medical care immediately. Taking health advice from strangers on Facebook is a gamble – and it could cost you your child’s life.
Images via pexels.com and facebook.com.
Comment: Have you ever been given misleading or false information online in regards to your own – or your family’s – health?