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Parents Force Children to Eat Bleach to ‘Cure’ Autism

Parents Force Children to Eat Bleach to ‘Cure’ Autism


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Desperate to “cure” them of autism, some parents in the United Kingdom have started force-feeding their children bleach and turpentine. MMS is made by blending a potent mixture of harsh chemicals that, combined, cook up industrial-strength bleach.

The bleach, easily purchased online, is either fed or inserted into the child through an enema. One parent who attempted the treatment told the Mirror — whose reporters investigated a Facebook group promoting the practice — that her 2-year-old child “cried really hard” when he was given his first enemas, but that things are getting “better and better.” Other misguided parents claim that behaviors associated with autism, such as rocking and chewing, decrease after the treatment is administered.

However, these perceived improvements in the child’s psychology are likely reactions of fear after experiencing the brutal treatment, experts told the Mirror. Drinking bleach can cause an intense burning sensation, chemical corrosion of the skin, and many other graphic and painful symptoms. Repeated consumption of such a harsh chemical substance can result in death.

The Mirror reports that posters to the closed Facebook group believe autism is caused by pathogens and parasites; the bleach is rumored to kill the parasites and therefore “cure” the child. These claims, however, have no scientific backing. Autism is not a result of parasites or pathogens at all — and this grim misunderstanding of autism is risking children’s lives.

“Research suggests that autism develops from a combination of genetic and nongenetic, or environmental, influences,” according to Autism Speaks. The organization notes that the nongenetic influences include complications and abnormalities during pregnancy — not the influences of any vaccine, pathogen, or other substance.

“There is a very large, really unscrupulous group of people out there who take advantage of vulnerable families,” Barry Sheerman, a member of Parliament who chairs the U.K.’s Autism Commission, told the Mirror.

It is believed that the Facebook group draws influences from a cult-like group from Southern California called Genesis II Church, founded by former Scientologist Jim Humble. BBC unveiled the church’s influence in the U.K. in 2015, when they were discovered campaigning for the use of MMS at a conference in Surrey.

The group also has been influenced by ex-drug addict Danny Glass, who goes by the pseudonym Sun Fruit Dan online. He creates videos urging parents to administer children up to seven drops of turpentine three times daily, believing it will rid them of parasites. A native of the U.K., Glass now lives in Thailand, where he reportedly escaped jail after being questioned for his wife’s death due to reckless driving.

The practice is not only misguided, but barbaric. Bleach could corrode a child’s esophagus and stomach lining, making it one of the most dangerous items you keep in your kitchen.


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

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The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism

Whether you have AIDS, malaria, cancer, or autism, there is a product sold on the internet that claims it can cure you. That product, called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), sounds a lot like other pseudoscientific remedies𠅋ut unlike many suspect forms of new age medicine that are scientifically unproven but benign, MMS can actively harm you in serious ways. That&aposs because it&aposs a solution of 28 percent sodium chlorite which, when mixed with citric acid as instructed, forms chlorine dioxide (ClO2), a potent form of bleach used in industrial pulp and textile bleaching.

Obviously, this is not exactly something you want to put in your body. And yet some parents are giving this dangerous substance to their children, both orally and through enemas, in the belief that it will cure their child of autism.

The FDA has been aware of MMS for some time in 2010 it issued a warning that the product turns into "a potent bleach" that "can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if ingested. There are reports of at least one possible death from MMS use, and in January children were removed from a home in Arkansas on the suspicion that parents were giving them the solution in some form. Media investigations have shown that the substance will quickly bleach cloth, leading one scientist to tell North Carolina&aposs WFMY News that she would only use it to clean her shower.

Nevertheless, there are a number of people who are convinced that using Miracle Mineral Solution𠅊lso known as following the "CD Protocol" (CD stands for chlorine dioxide)—will cure whatever ails them. They believe that it works by clearing the body of mystery parasites known as "rope worms" and other pathogens that they believe cause autism (this theory, to be clear, is wholly unsupported by medical science). And it&aposs not just autism. MMS is marketed as a classic cure-all, purported to treat everything from diabetes to malaria to Ebola to AIDS. There&aposs even a pseudo-Wikipedia where you can look up which "protocol" to follow to cure any illness, whether the complaint is baldness or brain cancer.

Related: "The Ambien Effect"

If this all sounds a little cultish, that&aposs because it is. MMS was "discovered" by a man named Jim Humble, a former Scientologist who started his own church, called Genesis II, of which he is now the self-styled Archbishop. The church appears to be little more than a marketing organ for his alleged miracle cure, though it&aposs worth noting that the site doesn&apost sell the actual wonder product it extolls, but offers a host of supplementary materials like a $199 "MMS Home Video Course" and information on expensive MMS seminars.

If Humble is the pater familias of this wolfpack of chicanery, a woman named Kerri Rivera seems to be its den mother. A bishop in Humble&aposs church, Rivera is the author of a book titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, in which she recommends giving autistic children "hourly doses" of chlorine dioxide and advocates chlorine dioxide enemas as a way to "kill pathogens in the brain."

Her website, CDAustism.org, is—like Humble&aposs website�reful to state that it does not actually sell MMS. Instead it promotes the idea that it will cure autism, sells supporting materials like her book, and offers expensive Skype consultations on administering the "treatment" that cost over $100 per hour.

In other words, while stopping short of selling MMS (likely for legal reasons), Humble and Rivera instead advocate it as a lifestyle, thereby promoting the damaging idea that the complex neurological condition known as autism is essentially a gut problem that you can somehow power-wash out of your body by pouring industrial bleach into both ends. And their followers believe them. (Questions sent to Ms. Rivera were unanswered at the time of publication.)

MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they're swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child's rectum.

There&aposs no way to accurately estimate how many people are doing this to themselves or their children. One of Humble&aposs websites outlandishly states 20 million people have been served by MMS, while Rivera claims a more modest (but chillingly specific) 164 children have been cured from autism, a number based on unverified testimonials.

As their behavior comes under increasing legal scrutiny, MMS enthusiasts have become an elusive bunch, recently abandoning a Facebook page that boasted over 7,000 members and moving to a more anonymous message board hosted on CDAutism.org where they say, with no apparent irony, that they feel more "safe," since making an account is required here.

Yet it&aposs in these threads, where those who have bought into the miracle cure share their stories and discuss dosing strategies, that the evidence against MMS/CD is most damning and most clear.

Going through these posts is like wading through a witches&apos brew of misinformation, pseudoscience, and paranoia. Here you can find parents speaking openly about the merits of drinking ocean water and performing parasitic cleanses timed to the cycles of the moon. MMS enthusiasts talk casually, like they&aposre swapping recipes, about how many inches to insert the catheter into their child&aposs rectum, how to force them into a chlorine dioxide bath, and how to use "tactics and tricks" to overcome resistance from children as young as two to receiving a bleach enema.

Most horrifyingly, these "tactics and tricks" even include using the child&aposs own autism—i.e. a "love of routine"𠅊gainst them.

Guided by largely anonymous moderators, users trade anecdotes in place of science, all while making health decisions that will affect their children in intimate ways, with unknown physical and psychological side effects. Meanwhile, the mods issue reassuring comments not to worry about things like reduced bowel function or "hundreds of small red objects" in a child&aposs stool after enemas. They are convinced it&aposs all part of the healing process.

Many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism.

There&aposs a strong strain of anti-vaxx sentiment that runs through this subculture, since vaccines are viewed by many chlorine dioxide users as the initial source of their child&aposs autism. Much of this is the result of the ongoing ripple effect of a discredited 1998 study that posited a possible connection between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism. Despite being debunked, the study continues to infect the public debate around vaccines, contributing to recent outbreaks of long-beaten diseases like measles.

Unlike other strains of anti-vaxxers, though, many MMS fans believe that vaccines result in parasites, which in turn cause autism. I asked Emily Willingham, a science writer who&aposs written about MMS for Forbes and Thinking Person&aposs Guide to Autism, if she could explain this logic.

"One of the tenets of the vaccines-cause-autism movement is that the vaccines contain toxins, that a &aposleaky gut&apos is somehow involved, and that these vulnerabilities lead to parasitic infections, yeast overload, and a host of other weird, unrelated things that &aposneed&apos to be treated," Willingham wrote in an email.

Indeed MMS/CD enthusiasts are downright obsessed with parasites. On CDAutism.org and elsewhere they post stomach-churning photos of what they believe to be "rope worms" or other parasites passed by their children after oral or rectal doses of chlorine dioxide. (The evidence that rope worms even exist is extremely limited.)

I corresponded with a doctor in South Africa, Louise Lindenberg, who has tested three such stool samples, given to her by a parent who admitted to using chlorine dioxide on herself and her children. She found no evidence of said parasites. "The microbiology did not reveal any parasites or even eggs," Lindenberg wrote in an email. "Histology confirmed that it was a combination of mucus, plant material, enterococci (probiotic flora), and gut cells."

What she did find, however, was "abdominal discomfort, aggravated behavior, weight loss, low sodium levels, [and] iron deficiency" in her patients. To be clear, I asked for her opinion on MMS/CD. Lindberg, who is herself an autism expert, replied: "I feel that it is potentially very harmful and does not &aposcure autism&apos in any way."

When there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

According to Fiona O&aposLeary, an autism advocate and activist based in Ireland and a leading opponent of MMS/chlorine dioxide use, the issue is clear: "We need to stop with these quack treatments because they&aposre dangerous, they&aposre not authorized, they&aposre not proven, and if anything they&aposre proven to cause real harm."

O&aposLeary—the mother of two autistic children, and who is on the spectrum herself—has been involved in activism against MMS in Ireland since 2014. She has catalogued numerous instances of apparent abuse on MMS message boards and Facebook groups. In a lengthy conversation, O&aposLeary discussed her ongoing campaign against MMS and compared chlorine dioxide use to other discredited treatments for autism like chelation and shock therapy.

"It&aposs like something from a Stephen King horror film," she said. "They&aposre guinea pigs. They don&apost have a life. From the minute that they wake up in the morning they&aposre dosed with the [chlorine dioxide], and they&aposre dosed throughout the day. Parents are removing them from school because they&aposre not allowed to dose in school and they&aposre hiding from child protection authorities because they know what they&aposre doing is wrong."

O&aposLeary&aposs claims seem as incredible as they are horrifying, but indeed, parents who frequent the CDAutism forums openly swap tips on how to duck Child Protective Services, which have become aware of chlorine dioxide&aposs use on children in some areas.

"It&aposs so unbelievable that you have to pinch yourself. But it is happening. It&aposs happening where I live," said O&aposLeary, who says she&aposs been offered MMS in Ireland—in one case by a dentist.

If it defies belief, it certainly defies logic. Chlorine dioxide&aposs fanatics are so wedded to their method that its core truth cannot be questioned. In fact, in their warped view, negative effects on the child like the alarming stools above are proof that the therapy is working and that more chlorine dioxide is needed to further purge the body.

When children are hyperactive or anxious—which is taken as evidence of autistic behavior𠅋oth advice on the CDAutism.org forums and in Rivera&aposs book suggest "double dosing." In addition to irregular stools, parents report symptoms in their children such as nausea, diarrhea, and "pink urine"—things that seem clear to be a result of ingesting bleach, but are again taken as evidence of autism. The validity of the protocol itself is sacrosanct. And in this twisted world, when there are alarming side effects from the enemas the solution is… more enemas.

Here a concerned parent wonders why his son "writhes around in pain after each dose" but explains that he had to "ramp up the dose pretty quickly" to avoid unwanted "behaviors."

O&aposLeary has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain.

"They&aposre so far removed from what they&aposre doing sometimes that you think that they shouldn&apost even have a dog. They&aposre not fit to have children," said O&aposLeary.

There is no cure for autism, which is increasingly being seen as an example of neurodiversity rather than as a disease, and Willingham believes it&aposs the notion that autism is a "horrific tragedy, a disease that &apossteals&apos the real child away" that&aposs caused some people to buy into dangerous, quack "therapies."

"Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that traces to early fetal development. You can&apost bleach it away, and autistic people deserve respect and attention to their personhood," said Willingham.

There are positive signs that the Department of Justice is cracking down on distributors in the United States—in 2013, a major MMS supplier named Louis Daniel Smith was arrested on charges related to smuggling and mislabeling the substance. (The trial starts this month, and Smith&aposs supporters have been crowdfunding his defense fund.) But MMS remains technically legal.

O&aposLeary fears that without further regulation, phony treatments like chlorine dioxide will become worse and more widespread. Jim Humble regularly posts chilling photos of visits to impoverished countries where chlorine dioxide is given to already suffering people as a supposed cure for malaria and AIDS, and in February announced plans to build a Genesis II church in Sierra Leone.

Though several countries, including Canada and Ireland, have issued health warnings O&aposLeary says she hopes that increased media attention will move the powers that be to take more concrete action.

"I just hope to God that the government picks up on it and actually look at this as a human rights violation," said O&aposLeary. "It&aposs nothing less than that."

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


Watch the video: Μεγαλώνοντας παιδιά με αυτισμό