Itâs touted as a miracle cure for malaria, cancer and even autism.
But despite containing potentially poisonous chemicals, MMS â miracle mineral solution â is still widely available.
Just one of what is thought to be 1,000 unfounded and unproven treatments for autism on the market, itâs sold as drops to be added to water, or the basis for enemas.
LINDSAY BRUCE investigated the sinister world of autism cures â and in particular this chlorine dioxide solution â branded as a âcleansing waterâ to families dealing with autism.
It only took one email posing as a parent desperate for help and within minutes I was directed to a supplier of hydrochloric acid and sodium chlorite which would be the âmagicâ ingredients of an hourly drink set to rid my child of autism.
Ordered from controversial organisation, Genesis 2 church of health and healing in America, at the cost of around £35 including postage, it only took a few days to receive what founders call âsacramentsâ for the cleansing of disease.
Two bottles arrived alongside dosage instructions, a business card and a religious leaflet.
One bottle â MMS â is 22.4% sodium chlorite, the other is the âactivatorâ and is made from 4% hydrochloric acid. The protocol is to begin by adding a drop of each to a glass, waiting for it to turn yellow â a sign that a chemical change has taken place â and then adding a small amount of water before drinking.
When these chemicals are mixed they form chlorine dioxide â the same ingredient used in some bleaches.
Just two drops of each was enough to make a liquid strong enough to cause our eyes to sting.
The person being treated has to drink this solution every hour. The dosage is then increased daily.
Dr Kat Day, from chronicleflask.com, is an award-winning chemistry writer. She believes the quantities of chlorine dioxide are dangerously high.
She said: âStarting with a 22.4% solution (as in MMS), and allowing for the stoichiometry suggested, this could produce something in the region of 36g of chlorine dioxide per litre of water.
âThe recommended safe limit for chlorine dioxide in the USA is 0.00008 grams per litre of water. Compare this to 36 grams per litre. Even if only a fraction is converted to chlorine dioxide, the resulting mixture is likely to be tens of thousands in excess of safe limits.â
But despite the apparent danger involved in administering the toxic compound, itâs still easy to get hold of.
John Phillipson, chief executive of the North East Autism Society, said: âI was shocked firstly that such a thing could be obtained so easily, and was then further alarmed at the stench when just a tiny amount was mixed.
âEven diluted in water itâs clear to see that this is a powerful liquid â like something you would clean with.
âIâm grateful that the Westminster Commission on Autism has taken steps to make sure such products can be reported and will hopefully soon feel the full weight of the law when offered to some of our most vulnerable people.â
The Commission noted gaps in legislation and confusion over how this product should be classified has meant a lack of reporting of such products in the UK.
Our investigation would support these findings. Just trying to find a lab willing to test the liquids proved impossible as it is neither a certified medicine or a food, and the chemicals are classed as unstable.
Parents and autism advocates campaigning against such products have come across the same confusion when deciding if itâs an issue for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the Food Standards Agency, the responsibility of Trading Standards or the Advertising Standards Agency.
Dr Helen Leonard, of the Great North Childrenâs Hospital, works with pre-school children in her autism clinic.
âFamilies can become quite desperate and we do hear of treatments being offered that at best will be a waste of money and at worst can be seriously damaging. I had a family mention chelation therapy to me as something they wanted to do.
âThe idea behind that one is that any metals in the body will be bound and expelled but thereâs really no scientific evidence to suggest it can do anything in relation to autism.â
In 2005 a British boy died after flying from the UK to America to receive this treatment for his autism.
Dr Leonard added: âItâs immoral of these organisations selling what amounts to a fake medicine to people but itâs also dangerous. If I heard of anyone giving an enema made of chlorine dioxide to their autistic child I would have huge concerns about the safety of the child.â
And she is confident in one thing â that there is no cure for autism.
âWhat I want to be clear on is that autism is not something we can cure. There are good and proven therapies and supportive techniques we can use to help someone who is autistic but we canât cure them. Drinking chemicals will most certainly, however, do harm,â she said.
As part of the âprotocolâ for administering the MMS or activated chlorine dioxide, controversial doctor Kerri Rivera, now banned from practicing in the USA, hosts webinars and shares videos telling parents symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea and fever are reassuring and a sign that the âmedicineâ is working.
Those symptoms are also signs of chlorine dioxide poisoning.
There is no official connection between Dr Rivera and Genesis 2 except for a common belief that autism is the result of parasites or toxins in the body which can be eradicated.
As well as Dr Rivera being forced to cease working in America, âministersâ from Genesis 2, operating as a self-titled ânon religious churchâ, have been subject to criminal charges.
In Ireland, Patrick Merlehan, who was known as bishop, was found guilty on two charges related to the manufacture and supply of Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), an unauthorised medicinal product on the Irish market. Church member Louis Daniel Smith was also found guilty in Washington state, USA on similar charges and sentenced to four years in jail.
Dr James Cusack from the UK autism researchers, Autistica, said: âAutism is complex and thereâs so much that we donât know about ensuring those on the spectrum can live the best possible life.
âParents are understandably desperate to help their children in any way they can, so it is natural that they seek advice elsewhere if they canât get it through their doctor.
âWhile some treatments lack evidence but are relatively harmless, there are a number of fake âcuresâ offered online which are actively dangerous. One notoriously harmful treatment sold online dupes parents into feeding their children bleach to âdetoxâ them.
âIt is worrying to see well-meaning parents falling prey to charlatans touting fake cures for autism online.
âWe owe it to families and autistic people to find the answers that they need. Through more research, we can provide them with reliable information and evidence-based services from the point of diagnosis right through to old age.â
Emma Dalmayne, a campaigner against MMS and other such âcuresâ, has encountered the self-proclaimed Genesis 2 Church during her own investigations.
The mum of five autistic children said: âWhen it first came to my attention I couldnât believe what I was seeing. This isnât just something that some people do â this is widely talked about and widely available. I was offered this product myself.
âA minister from Genesis 2 was selling MMS in the UK. He even told me how to give it to my four-year-old as an enema.â
During the course of this investigation, Bishop Jordan Grenon, who had been our point of contact, claimed activated MMS can cure autism and that they have customers receiving MMS in the UK.
When we informed him of our investigation his first concern was our use of the word âchemicalsâ, stating MMS is a sacred sacrament, and not our question as to whether his organisation was deliberately exploiting vulnerable families. Further questions were deemed âstupidâ.
The British supplier for the American non-religious church, ukmineral.co.uk, also offered to sell us the two-bottle âkitâ.
Directed to its online UK shop straight from the American website, spokesman Tom Smith denied his products were used for anything other than water purification and were not to be ingested.
He was then questioned as to why he was a supplier for a protocol that involves drinking the solution and why he confirmed earlier in the investigation that the disclaimer on his website was just there âbecause of bad pressâ.
He refused to comment on either and would not clarify whether he knew his business was listed on the Genesis 2 website as an approved supplier.
Michelle Rose, a marketing trainer from Consett, County Durham, is married to Kieran who is autistic, and mum to Albie, Livvy and Quinn, who is also autistic.
She said: âThereâs so much about this that disturbs me. Firstly â I hate the language of âcureâ and even âfake cureâ. Why? Because itâs not something that can be or that should be cured.
âSecondly â the cure culture makes people liable to subjecting these treatments on their children. Aside from the madness of thinking a bleaching agent as an enema could somehow change a brain, where is the compassion?
âMany people who are autistic also have co-existing or additional challenges. If someone was non-verbal and being inflicted with a chemical enema I canât imagine the distress that would cause.â
Source : Chroniclelive