Regular readers might have wondered why there was no post yesterday. The answer’s simple: A combination of work and having to fly out to Buffalo for the CFI Reason for Change conference, where I’ll be on a panel on (of course!) alternative medicine later today. That same combination means that this post will be uncharacteristically brief. I know, I know. When I say “uncharacteristically brief,” usually what happens is that I manage to keep things under 2,000 words for a chance, but that’s just how I roll.
However, as busy as I am at the moment, I just have to take note of a most happy development in the form of journalists doing their job. I’m referring to the story reported by the BBC yesterday about MMS. You remember MMS, of course. Basically, it’s a form of bleach. In fact, it’s a form of bleach that is sold as as a “miracle cure” to be ingested or taken as an enema for everything from AIDS to cancer to autism. Indeed, MMS stands for “miracle mineral solution,” and, yes, autism quack Kerri Rivera recommends feeding children bleach and forcing them to take bleach enemas.) So, hot on the heals of a major seller of MMS being convicted of conspiracy, smuggling, selling misbranded drugs and defrauding the United States, leading to various MMS autism quacks going silent for a while, the BBC published an expose of the organization most responsible for the “popularization” of this bizarre and harmful alternative therapy ‘Miracle autism cure’ seller exposed by BBC investigation:
A self-styled “reverend” who claims autism can be “purged” by swallowing bleach has been exposed by a BBC London undercover investigation.
Leon Edwards sold sodium chlorite and hydrochloric acid to a reporter posing as the relation of an autistic child. Combined, the chemicals form bleach.
The BBC has also learned the secret location of a conference to begin in Surrey on Friday to promote the ‘cure’.
When confronted with the evidence, Mr Edwards made no comment.
Mr. Edwards is affiliated with the Genesis II Church. That’s the church founded by Jim Humble, the originator of the concept that it’s somehow a good idea to shoot bleach up your posterior to cure AIDS. Well, actually Humble claims that MMS can be used to successfully treat AIDS, hepatitis A,B and C, malaria, herpes, TB, most cancer and many more of mankind’s worse diseases. He even goes so far as to claim that 5,000,000 people have used MMS and that “hundreds of thousands” of lives have been saved. Unfortunately, it appears that for this function Jim Humble uses more concentrated MMS—a lot more concentrated. More horrifically, Humble bestows his “blessings” on poor people in Third World countries like Haiti. In fact, MMS is actually really nasty stuff, with some of its users suffering serious complications. Humble also teaches his disciples his quackery:
When people leave here they really know how to use MMS for all things, skin diseases of all kinds, colon problems, how to regenerate the liver, how to treat brain cancers, how to treat babies and pregnant women, and how to treat animals from mice to elephants. You will be personally taking MMS while here, spraying your skin with powerful solutions of MMS (but won’t hurt you), spraying others’ skin and hair. You will learn to use sprays, baths, IV solutions, MMS gas, soak the feet, and most importantly, the new protocols that in the country of Malawi have cured more than 800 people of HIV plus 40 cancer cases, 50 of feet and leg numbness, 3 heart disease cases, 13 diabetes cases, and many other diseases and problems.
Yes, you read it right. Jim Humble likes to go down to Haiti and the Dominican Republic and subject the poor there to industrial bleach, just as Kerri Rivera likes to show up at the quackfest known as Autism One to give paeans to the joys of bleach enemas as a treatment for autism. In the UK, the quacks seem to be a bit cagier. The BBC report tells us:
Some of the leading figures in the ‘church’ have travelled from the US to attend the conference, due to take place in a manor house in Farnham.
Emails obtained by the BBC show delegates have been told to meet at a certain location before being driven to the venue, where they will be instructed in preparing doses of MMS to be consumed orally and taken via enemas.
Through his website, Mr Edwards, who says he is not attending the conference, sold the researcher the one bottle of liquid labelled as 22.4% sodium chlorite and a second labelled as 4% hydrochloric acid.
When the BBC sent the chemicals to Kent Scientific Services, an independent laboratory, they were found to be 57% and 45% stronger than the advertised concentration respectively.
Come on. It’s “miracle mineral solution”! If you believe—I mean really believe—it’s a gift from God designed to heal everything that ails humankind, you don’t really have to be that picky about actual…oh, you know…chemical concentrations, do you? What’s wrong? Isn’t your faith strong enough? You think I’m joking? Then look at this argument made by spokesperson for the Genesis II Church:
An organiser of the Genesis II Church conference described MMS as a “sacrament” that was “no different than the bread and wine given during a church service”.
The spokeswoman continued: “The so-called side effects are far less than [in] drugs sold by pharmaceutical companies.
“We are not selling any products during the church services. We simply conduct our services and share our news and protocols.
“Table salt is dangerous if taken too much [sic].”
Yes, and Botox is a deadly poison that, when administered in very tiny doses, has all sorts of potential beneficial uses that go beyond cosmetic. The difference, of course, is that we know the mechanism by which Botox works and we know that it is beneficial for conditions involving smooth muscle that is too “contracted” or active. We have no such evidence base to support the use of MMS for any human disease, particularly not the way the Genesis II Church recommends it, certainly not for autism, and certainly not with this sort of advice:
Mr Marshall said the ‘medicine’ had been known to make people vomit blood and lose the lining of their intestines, branding its effects “heartbreaking and grotesque”.
He also warned that if people at next week’s meeting, which is being organised by Mr Grenon and Mark Kishon, claimed MMS could cure cancer, they would be in breach of the Cancer Act 1939.
Undercover reporters infiltrated a meeting hosted by Mr Kishon in Sussex last month where he was filmed advising a cancer patient that his post-treatment check-ups were “unnecessary”.
I haven’t seen any reports about the meeting, which is probably taking place now as I write this and is supposed to last the entire weekend. (The juxtaposition of this secret quack meeting with the three day meeting I’m at is a bit annoying.) I will keep an eye out for further news reports. In the meantime, I wonder if they’re also telling patients who haven’t already had science-based treatment for their cancer not to bother with that pesky toxic chemotherapy or that painful disfiguring surgery. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least. How many people have died as a result of relying on Humble’s religious quackery instead of real medicine? How many children have been subjected to bleach enemas, causing the lining of their intestines to slough, something that is interpreted as “parasites” dying?
If you don’t believe that treating autism with MMS is child abuse, go back and reread a story I wrote two years ago about a woman using MMS on her child with autism, complete with pictures of the lining of the child’s colon that had sloughed as a result of the treatment and that the mother proudly photographed as evidence that the “parasites” were dying. Then tell me again that MMS for autism isn’t child abuse.