A recent investigation has unearthed some of the alarming lengths parents of children with autism will go to in order to “treat” their children.
Melissa Eaton and Amanda Seigler are both mothers of children with autism who have spent the past three years infiltrating Facebook groups for parents with autistic children. According to a report by NBC, these groups, which contain thousands of members, offer accounts from parents who say they’ve “cured” their child’s autism with bleach.
Eaton and Seigler have quietly reported over 100 cases of child abuse to Child Protective Services after reading testimonials from parents who say they’ve “reversed” their child’s autism through turpentine and their child’s own urine. Some groups, even offered YouTube videos instructing parents how to concoct their own chlorine dioxide at home, known as Miracle Mineral Solution.
“It really weighs on you, but kids are being abused,” Eaton told NBC. “You see it. You have the choice of doing something about it or letting it go. And I’m not the kind of person who can see something like that and just forget about it.”
The undercover moms have come across accounts of parents frustrated that their child refusing to drink the chlorine dioxide to others bathing their children and performing enemas with the solution.
In wake of NBC’s report, Amazon has announced it will no longer be selling books about chlorine dioxide, or books such as anti-vaccination advocate Andreas Kalcker’s “Forbidden Health” which promotes the homemade bleach as an autism cure. YouTube has also followed suit, removing videos regarding chlorine dioxide, as well as anti-vaccine content.
Alternative health enthusiast Jim Humble, 86, is credited with being the first to claim chlorine dioxide was a “miracle cure” nearly 20 years ago after saying he used the solution to treat malaria during an expedition to South America. Humble coined the term Miracle Mineral Solution and says the mixture has the potential to cure cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, obesity, depression and ear infections to name a few.
While there is no known cause or cure for autism, doctors are warning parents from using chlorine dioxide as it can cause permanent damage to the body.
“It can lead to kidney damage and kidney failure,” Dr. Daniel Brooks, medical director at Banner University Medical Center’s Poison and Drug Information Center and Outpatient Toxicology Clinic in Phoenix told NBC. “The stuff does nothing other than introduce potential risks.”
Poison control Statistics show that in the United States, there have been 16,521 cases of chlorine dioxide poisoning since 2014, with approximately 2,500 cases involving children under the age of 12.
In the past few years, Kelli Rivera, a former Chicago real estate agent has emerged as one of the most vocal advocates for chlorine dioxide to treat autism.
Despite her Facebook group being shut down multiple times and her email address being cancelled by Yahoo, Rivera still markets herself as a non-medical professional who “operates a clinic offering chlorine dioxide regimen” in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and claims to have cured over 500 children with autism.
“If it’s deadly, we would see dead people,” Rivera said in a video of warnings regarding the mixture.
Social media’s crackdown on harmful communities has forced Rivera underground, using fake profiles and providing her users with strict guidelines to avoid being reported to Child Protected Services for using the dangerous and alternative “treatments.”
Health Canada has issued several warnings against MMS, noting that the only legal use of the chemical mixture is as a germicide for veterinary use and a hard-surface disinfectant. The government agency explicitly states that any drug or mixture sold that contains chlorine dioxide for human consumption is illegal.
In 2015, Autism Canada released a statement recommending that parents of children with autism approach treatment in a way that combines both medical and non-medical resources.
“There is a growing body of research evidence pointing to the value of implementing changes like diet and/or supplementing deficient vitamins and minerals (nutraceuticals), etc. These are emerging treatments for the underlying factors that contribute to autism and related symptoms,” the organization advised. “Parents often remark on improved language, eye contact, social engagement and their child’s ability to learn.”