Will the autism "biomed" underground ever renounce using bleach to treat autism?

I know, I know, I've been writing about MMS a lot. Don't worry. Barring some unforeseen development, this will probably be the last one for a while. However, I just had to comment again because this is just too funny (not to mention that I didn't have a lot of time last night because, yes, I had to work on a grant application). Remember how I mentioned the pro-MMS petition in which Jim Humble, the man who had the revelation that you can bleach away whatever disease you're suffering from, demanded that Emily Willingham (who did a Change.org petition demanding that Kerri Rivera stop treating autism with bleach enemas) stop calling MMS bleach, even though that's one of the main things that the chemical in MMS is used for.

Now, the amusing thing is that Jim Humble's petition to tell Emily to stop calling MMS bleach has only reached 47 of its target of 1,000,000. (Hint to Mr. Humble: Realistic targets are a good idea. They make you look somewhat less pathetic.) But what's even funnier that I forgot to mention is that some of the comments are clearly...well, let's just put it this way: They're not friends of Humble's cause. For instance, there's a commenter and signer who calls himself Credulous Nimrod, and he explains why he supports MMS:

Just because this is exactly the same chemical as bleach doesn't mean Emily should call it bleach! This is because of reasons. And quantum mechanics. And I trust that Jim Humble would never lie to desperate parents just because he's selling this product for a profit! Enough of the medical establishment and their "science" and their "first, do no harm." We want pointless feel-good actions that take advantage of our sadness and our scientific illiteracy!

And a guy named Igor K.:

Stop the fearmongering. Just because sodium chlorite bleaches through oxidation and is grouped with other chlorine bleaches that operate in a similar fashion (i.e. chlorine dioxide, chlorine, and calcium hypochlorite) does not make it a bleach. That its industrial manufacturers label it as such also means nothing. I regularly drink inappropriately named acidic drain cleaners to relieve constipation. That the public health agencies all over the world recognize MMS' risks as poisoning, renal failure, reduction of the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea doesn't mean they know what they are talking about. To prove it, I volunteer myself along with everyone to sign this petition for a public demonstration where each person will consume a gallon of undiluted sodium chlorite without any deleterious health effects. Then, they will have to accept it as evidence of our correctness.

Then there's Darius Xym:

I'm signing this petition because I just walked into a wall and I feel a bit confused. In my temporarily impaired state I think it's a fabulous idea to administer concentrated industrial bleach to the rectums of vulnerable children to cure a brain disorder. It all makes perfect sense and anyone who thinks it is all criminally irresponsible and dangerous quackery promoted by one of the most vile hucksters should try walking into a wall themselves to see if alters their opinion.

I think I'll pass on Darius' advice. I do, however, think it's safe to say that only the fringe of the fringe of the fringe of the antivaccine fringe thinks it's a good idea to feed their autistic children bleach or, worse yet, administer bleach enemas to them, as Kerri Rivera advocates.

The question I have now is: Will Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, and all the other sponsors of the Autism One quackfest finally disavow Kerri Rivera and her bleach enema therapy? I would be shocked if they did. In the autism "biomed" underground, there is no quackery too quacky or too vile that someone, somewhere isn't subjecting her autistic child to it. At most, what will happen, as has been pointed out, is that Rivera won't be invited back to Autism One next year and discussion of MMS will be muted because of the embarrassment of the less reality-challenged members of the autism "biomed" underground.

And then someone else with quackery just as outrageous will speak at Autism One next year. Count on it. On the other hand, I could be wrong about that. After all Mark and David Geier keep getting invited back to Autism One year after year, and they advocate what is, in essence, chemical castration of autistic children. If advocating chemical castration won't get you disinvited from future Autism One conferences, my guess is that advocating bleach enemas will be no problem.

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Will Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, and all the other sponsors of the Autism One quackfest finally disavow Kerri Rivera and her bleach enema therapy?

If you reject one therapy because the rationale for using it is rooted in magical thinking and medieval physiology and are completely incompatible with all the other therapies being promoted at AO, or because its promoter is universally recognised as an unscrupulous huckster who's also selling it for 101 other ailments with nothing in common with autism, then it sets a bad precedent.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Jun 2012 #permalink

What the good doctor said. Public disavowal would leave the bad impression AO has been wrong about anything.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 12 Jun 2012 #permalink

"Will Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, and all the other sponsors of the Autism One quackfest finally disavow Kerri Rivera and her bleach enema therapy?"

Maybe...only to replace it with fecal transplants. From skepchicks blog:


"Fecal Microbiota Transplants have been getting lots of attention on science podcasts and other news outlets lately. They seem to have a good deal of promise for people with C. difficile infections and various other GI issues. Borody talked about their documented (?) efficacy for conditions other than autism, including a few things I doubted it really could possibly cure. The way he tied this talk to the subject at hand was that he hoped the future (not yet available) powdered form of intestinal flora would be studied in children with ASD, as the current preferred method of recurrent enemas wouldn’t be viable/ethical for younger patients. I don’t doubt that some of the quacks in this community will not let such scruples stop them from offering this treatment: it’s not as bad as chemical castration, right? This is, of course, keeping in with Generation Recue’s clinging to the brain-gut connection as a pathological cause rather than a comorbidity for ASD. The way they jump on this concept as it gets researched in mainstream medicine (aka, “medicine”) reminds me of alt med people waving their hands and saying “quantum” when all else fails."

Just what is the fascination with a child's feces, for these parents?

Fecal enemas? Before or after the bleach ones?

Orac, are you sure that those commenters are not Poes? I can't imagine anyone making those arguments in that way and keeping a straight face.

By Julian frost (not verified) on 12 Jun 2012 #permalink

lilady, I am aware of the backstory. I first became aware of this practice following a visit to the website of a Dr. Sarah Myhill.

I find the whole concept of employing enemas on children (unless there are good medical reasons to do so) appalling. I am not sure which is worse feces or bleach. At least feces is biological, I suppose.

Consenting adults can of course do what they like to themselves and each other.

First time comment here, occasional reader.
A friend that was recently diagnosed with breast cancer was sent this link, from a well-meaning person: https://www.phhealth.co.uk/products-page/cds-replacement-for-mms/?gclid…

I understand from it that since MMS was removed from eBay and banned by ASA in the UK, JH has branched out in CDS, which is almost exactly the same thing as far as I can tell. I advised my friend to stay well away from anything related to JH, but if you guys have more info on CDS I'd be really grateful!

By Nico (@nfanget) (not verified) on 12 Jun 2012 #permalink

Having had bleach in open wounds(mostly my owe carelessness) and having been the victim of child abuse I know that bleach is MORE painful than anal rape. Bleach in the rectum, an area with a very large number of blood vessels is just.... I don't know how to describe how that must feel. I am aware of how much pain those kids are going through and I really really want those quacks and the parents who choose to fall for them to experience what they are putting those kids through.

@Chris P.
Of course they are Poes, and Orac knows.

Sorry, that was meant for NOYDB and not you Chris...

Gah! I mean for Julian!

Biomed not the underground. It's the ground. This is autism, where science fears to tread.

By James T. Todd (not verified) on 13 Jun 2012 #permalink

@dingo: Now that you reminded me of the Poe phenomenon, I am a little apprehensive about my sarcastic proposal to demonstrate MMS's safety. Some individuals are so far removed from reality and self-doubt that I stopped trying to figure out which might be Poes. My attempts at satire can sometimes seem downright sane. I hope nobody takes my advice to ingest undiluted bleach seriously.

James T Todd - would you like some croutons with your word salad?

@jason T Todd - because the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on autism research yearly doesn't denote a certain amount of attention being paid by mainstream medicine.....moron.

At least feces is biological, I suppose.

So is botulism. Which at least is generally not administered as an enema--yet. (I home I'm not giving the Einsteins at Autism One any ideas.)

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 13 Jun 2012 #permalink

@Ben: I am so sorry you know what any of that feels like.

I just want to say,that I have had a lot of trouble posting comments in the last couple of days.On Monday,I tried posting about a message board thread I had found from 2009(!) about using MMS in everything from cancer in dogs,to diabetes in someone's 83 year old mother.

Yesterday,I tried posting about some really crazy stuff I found on the Son-Rise/Autism Treatment Center site about vaccines and metals,and information from elsewhere about how it differed from what Barry Neil Kaufman had originally planned the organization to be.Both of course had links.Each time,I got the error message about posting too fast.After a couple of tries,the posts went through,but never showed up.I know about mod queue when you post with links.I also know it's been crazy here in the last couple days,but have other people had problems?

By Roger Kulp (not verified) on 13 Jun 2012 #permalink

The problem with so much of "alternative" medicine - especially, it seems, "alternative" autism therapies - is that they are so crazy and irrational that it is very difficult to lampoon them. As a literature prof once told me, "It's almost impossible to parody a farce."

I actually thought that one of these comments was serious, which only shows how off-the-rails crazy the autism "biomed" crowd is on a day-to-day basis.

Now to Orac's (rhetorical) question:

"Will Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, and all the other sponsors of the Autism One quackfest finally disavow Kerri Rivera and her bleach enema therapy?"

The answer is - of course - a resounding "No!". The reason for that answer is a bit more complex. AutismOne, GR and the rest, like their anti-intellectual forebears in "Defeat Autism Now!" ("DAN!"), realise that if they reject one "therapy" because it is irrational, disproven or downright dangerous, then the whole house of cards will come tumbling down.

You see, I've been to their "conferences" and I've seen how it all works. There is a tacit agreement among all of the speakers, vendors and miscellaneous hucksters that "I won't mention the gaping holes in your logic if you don't mention the holes in mine."

This is why the AutismOne organisers eject reporters or anyone else who won't accept their unwritten rule of "Don't question anything the sponsors or speakers say.". They know - at some level - that there are wild contradictions even within the "Brave Maverick Doctors" who are their hallowed heroes. If they were to suspend the "Don't call out my quackery and I won't call out yours." rule, AutismOne would devolve into chaos and mayhem.

This is not exclusive to AutismOne - all of the pseudoscience types adhere to this unwritten rule. When was the last time you heard a chiropractor, for instance, say that homeopathy was nothing but water? Or a naturopath say that chiropractic was useless for anything other than muscular back pain? They know that their particular "discipline" can't stand up to scrutiny, so they deliberately don't aggravate their fellow quacktitioners.

As the old saying goes, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

So, when will AutismOne disavow bleach therapy (MMS)? Never. Or, at least, not until the skies are darkened by flocks of flying swine.


By Prometheus (not verified) on 13 Jun 2012 #permalink

*hoots* Those are good. ;-) For those who have gone beyond reason, sometimes parody and mockery are the best answers. They are acting like fools, so it is appropriate that someone enhance the foolish presentation. Make it into a joke. That's another way of pulling the teeth out of dangerous propositions -- turn them into jokes so that the whole world can see the absurdity of it.

I doubt AutismOne will ever disavow *anything*. They might eventually quietly let it die, but my guess is they won't ever admit to having been wrong.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 13 Jun 2012 #permalink

Nico @4:43 am : I complained to Stockport Trading standards over a week ago about that website (the company has a Stockport address). They told me they were aware of the MMS scam would be investigating. The UK Foods Standards agency banned the sale of MMS in the UKa couple of years ago - this company is trying to pass it of as a different substance.
But of course, its the same stuff - so maybe you could put in a complaint as well? It certainly wouldn't hurt.

Lenny Bruce did a routine that he called "Religions Incorporated," which is a satire on a convention for religious leaders. He has the conference chair lead off by stating the main rule: "There'll be no individual hustling." He then has the chair continue that they won't be successful "if we burn each other." I guess Prometheus' law (OK, so I just invented the term, but perhaps it is well earned) from the above comment should enter the lexicon.

There is a tacit agreement among all of the speakers, vendors and miscellaneous hucksters that “I won’t mention the gaping holes in your logic if you don’t mention the holes in mine.”

Professional Courtesy, like sharks refusing to eat lawyers.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Jun 2012 #permalink

The line of argument in these groups is that there are the "outsiders", who are evil and greedy and untrustworthy, and the "insiders", who are good and pure and always right. To criticize one of their own would be to suggest that every barrier they built around themselves would be for nothing. And thus, the paranoid are far more easily exploited than the trusting.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 13 Jun 2012 #permalink

Way back in time, many, many moons ago (sorry this is another tale of the Medical Branch of Her Britannic Majesty's Royal Navy), we used a substance called Eusol.

I believe it was an acronym for Edinburgh University Solution of Lime and, like a lot of our medicaments, was made up as required by ourselves in our Sick Bays.

If memory serves it was 12.5ml of Chloros bleach made up to 100ml with water.

We used wicks soaked in this solution to pack deep wounds and sinuses (as in pilonidal, not as in frontal and maxilliary!) in order to help the wound heal from the bottom up.

It was very effective. And every time I post about something I was taught a little part of me dies as the realisation returns that I am a dinosaur.

A0 is back at it. What's next, muriatic acid (HCl)? -This is obviously nothing that any sane person would give to any living being to ingest for any legitimate purpose.

God forgive me. This comment will be misunderstood, but it is necessary in the pursuit of scientific discourse.
Administration of bleach enemas to autistic children is dangerous, and probably inhumane. Please do not do it.

The EPA website does state that people who consume aqueous chlorine dioxide “in excess of the maximum residual disinfectant level could experience nervous system effects.” I am not a physician, but I understand autism to be related to the nervous system. I also know that rectal administration of drugs is an effective way to enhance bioavailability of chemicals which are subject to first-pass hepatic extraction, and would minimize upper GI and respiratory effects related to oral administration.
These considerations do not permit exclusion of the scientifically testable possibility that administration of a bioavailable source of electropositive chlorine might have an effect on the condition.
Administration of bleach enemas to autistic children is dangerous, and probably inhumane. Please do not do it.

Peebs, before you turn into petroleum, could you write a book? Please?

Amazon still sells a couple different brands of MMS as sodium chlorite, water purification drops. It has been reported it to them as a product safety issue. We'll see if they remove it from their product line.

@ dingo 199: I posted on Todd Drezner's blog ~ 2 hours ago. I'm stuck in moderation (sigh).

Since autism web got an honorable mention on fecal transplants, I think it would be fair to mention that there was also posters on the forum who had come out against mms prior to the autism one conference. http://www.autismweb.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=27568&hilit=mms

I of course highlight by own ignorance in that I first assume that mms is dioxin, but that leads to my question. If sodium dioxide produces dioxin during the industrial bleaching process, could it also produce dioxins inside those taking it as it encounters plant fibers [ingins] in the gut? Given as well that wood pulp is becoming a common food additive.

I remain surprised that people who claim there is no valid evidence that vaccines are safe (within reasonable definitions of safe) or that various drugs are effective (within reasonable definitions of effective) believe that a compound with no evidence of safety or efficacy promoted by a man who founded a fraudulent church is perfectly OK.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 14 Jun 2012 #permalink

The when question of when was two years ago, Kelly. Tragic, but not new.

@Kelly M Bray - the article you quote is two years old, and the woman in question basically admitted she killed her son because she heard "voices in her head".


I don't think this particular woman was a curebie. Her issues appeared to go way beyond that.

(Note: do NOT interpret this as support of MMS. I still think that treatment is as dangerous as Lupron, chelation, and all sort of other ridiculous "therapies" that have never been proven to do a thing for autism.)

@ Autismum: You're going to LOVE Todd Drezner's reply to Julie Obradovic...and mine as well. They'll be no weaseling out by the apologists from AoA.

I even managed to post about the incestuous relationship amongst Generation Rescue, Autism One, AoA, SafeMinds and the Canary Party. (I've learned about six degrees of separation, from my slumming activities at AoA)

I'm going for the celebratory vodka/tonic , now.

I have enough pain in my life without having to deal with idiots dosing their kids with bleach. Bleach. Seriously. What The F?
Bleach! Sodium Chlorite! By all the unholies, do none of these "curies" (shame, Marie Curie would be angry) read the use instructions or warning labels on any of this ? Holy Crap.

DLC -- I rather suspect that if you buy it as "Miracle Mineral Solution", it doesn't have any of the warnings on it....

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 18 Jun 2012 #permalink

shame, Marie Curie would be angry

Don't give them any more glowing ideas.

Oh, god, don't remind me. I read a chapter about old time treatments of cancer and couldn't stop twitching for days. They carried radium in their pockets back then.. gah! (Mind you, I couldn't use a microwave until well into my teens because I was so phobic about radiation.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 18 Jun 2012 #permalink

The problem is that when your child has autism. Like I do. You begin slowly to lose faith in the medical establishment. It all begins by having your "trusted" pediatrician tell you "nothing is wrong, a lot of male children have issues with speech”, then it moves on to having to listen to a Dr tell you that your two year old will never amount to anything and that we need to make plans to have him locked up in a facility for the rest of his life. Then you hear of successes from Lovaas and company with ABA (but then it only really works for less than 50% of kiddos involved in his initial study. As you read more and more you enter into a world you never knew existed. One you are ill equipped to live in. A world of special diets, vitamin supplements and so on. You hear some folks have had success. You want to do what is best for your child. You feel uneducated…no matter what your original level of education is…you are at a loss. Then you think back at how the doctors you have met all along were also uneducated and how no one has “the key”. At this point you are willing to try anything. You get into the clinical trials database…you are now willing to experiment with your child. I’m an engineer with a solid knowledge base of statistics and I know full well how to design experiments to identify the better variables to optimize a production process. Then I see how “the establishment” performs these tests in their clinical trials and I know how things don’t look right. I know I will try anything. I haven’t seen the clinical trial on MMS…from the postings on this blog it would even be unethical to even consider doing one. I don’t know. One thing I know is that there will always be some shady unethical person trying to prey on the needs and desperation of somebody else…I’m just saying