Bleach, Bullshit and Autism-The Dangers of Quackery and the Importance of Putting Children First.

I don’t know about you, but I’m greatly looking forward to the day when my future grandchildren ask me about the coronavirus pandemic. I can’t wait to see the expression on their little faces when I inform them that on Thursday 23rd April 2020 the actual President of the actual United States stood before the world’s media and suggested that it would be an excellent idea to inject people with disinfectant in order to cure COVID-19. Apparently President Trump had seen a report demonstrating that when disinfectant was sprayed on various surfaces it kills viruses within minutes so according to his logic it would have the same effect if injected into the human body, because that’s how science works. Naturally the overwhelming response was shock and derision. A million memes appeared overnight and the media went wild. Trump backtracked almost immediately, claiming his remarks were ‘sarcastic’ and he was merely baiting the media. This is clearly utter horseshit, I firmly believe Trump was deadly serious and even if he weren’t, one might think that perhaps in the midst of a global pandemic the ‘Leader of the Free World’ should be offering reassurance and sensible advice rather than trolling the press in the manner of a bored teenager playing the edgelord on Reddit.
But was it truly a report on the well-known virus killing capabilities of Dettol that inspired Trump’s remarks, or are there more insidious forces at work? In the very same week those remarks were made a letter was sent to Trump by a certain Mark Grenon of the Genesis II church, extolling the benefits of Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS) along with a sample of said product. According to Grenon, MMS is ‘a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of pathogens in the body’ and ‘can rid the body of COVID-19.’ 30 of Grenon’s supporters sent similar letters. Whether or not this influenced Trump’s statements is unclear; The Guardian contacted the White House for clarification but received no response.
And what is MMS, this hitherto unknown cure that could save us from the invisible enemy? In a word; bleach. It’s fucking bleach. Also referred to as Miracle Mineral Solution and CD protocol it is an industrial bleach, chlorine dioxide’ made by mixing sodium chloride with an acid. Its proponents hail it as a panacea, claiming it cures a huge array of health problems including HIV, malaria, cancer and autism. Yup, autism. Parents give this shit to their autistic kids in a variety of ways including orally, topically and worst of all rectally, in the form of bleach enemas. We’ll explore this in more depth in due course. You do not need to be a doctor to realise that this is extremely dangerous. The effects of consuming MMS include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, the shedding of the internal mucous membranes of the intestines and in high quantities, kidney failure Those who sell it claim these side effects are in fact proof it is working, and often advertise it as a water purifier in order to avoid prosecution. It is banned in Canada and both the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FCA) and the USA’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued public warnings strongly advising against its consumption.
The largest proponent of MMS is the Geneis II church, founded by Jim Humble and Mark Grenon in the mid-1990s. Humble claims to have discovered the healing power of the ‘sacrament’ MMS in 1996. He also claims he cured his own broken neck using magnets and that he’s a billion year old god from the Andromeda Galaxy, so make of that what you will. According to the church’s website’ becoming a member of the church, which is ‘non religious’ and whose purpose is to ‘serve mankind’ will bring benefits such as ‘protection against vaccinations, unwanted x-rays, scan or health insurance mandated by human authority,’ the ‘ability to purchase health product of all kinds and in any quantity’ (apparently the church has plans to open its own health stores in its buildings) and a membership card bearing the notice ‘anyone violating these right will be prosecuted by the church.’ And all these incredible advantages can be yours at the bargain price of $35 for the first year per adult, $20 per subsequent year and kids under 12 get it half price. What a fucking steal. The church also held a meeting in Washington in April 2019, whose attendees were required to ‘donate’ $450 each ($800 for couples) in order to attend and receive a package of MMS. There’s clearly a great deal of money to be made in the amoral peddling of pseudo scientific, bullshit ‘miracle cures.’ Humble left the church in 2017 to focus on ‘research and writing’ but is still selling his numerous books advising the proper way to ingest bleach so I imagine he’s retained a healthy bank balance.
Just to demonstrate the absolute audacity of these utter bastards, Grenon sent his letter to Trump despite him and other Genesis II ‘bishops’ being currently under investigation by the US Attorney’s Office in Miami. This is as a result of them selling MMS as a cure for COVID-19 in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act with ‘false and misleading labels and without adequate instructions for its use.’ The FDA wrote to Grenon on April 8th warning him his activities were illegal and demanding a response within 48 hours outlining the steps the church intended to take in order to correct the issue. Grenon’s response oozed arrogance, amongst other things, he said there would be ‘no corrective action on our part…you have no authority over us.’ Unfortunately for Grenon, the FDA very much do have authority over Genesis II as demonstrated on April 17th when US District Judge Kathleen M Williams granted a temporary injunction preventing them from selling MMS. There is a hearing scheduled to extend the injunction on May 1st and I sincerely hope the extention is granted.
Egregious as Grenon and Humble are, it is former Chicago real estate agent Kerri Rivera we have to thank for popularizing the use of MMS amongst the parents of autistic children. She discovered MMS whilst seeking a cure for her autistic son, having already tried methods including hyperbaric chambers and heavy metal antidotes. She outlined her ‘CD protocol’ in her 2013 book ‘Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism’ which she promoted on her website, Facebook page and YouTube channel. Rivera believes autism is caused by parasites or ‘rope worms’ which are actually long, thin pieces of intestinal lining shed as a result of the bleach enemas she encourages people to subject their children to. Now I’m not one to judge people on appearances but I’ve seen a photo of Rivera and frankly she’s fucking terrifying. It’s not hard to imagine her telling people to increase the amount of MMS they’re giving their kids when they tell her about the hideous side effects they’re suffering, which is exactly what she regularly does.
Like Grenon and Humble, Rivera has made a great deal of money. Along with her book, she has created a line of supplements and offers Skype consultations. She’s been ‘received as a saviour’ on the ‘autism cure circuit’ where she makes (paid) appearances at anti-vaccination and autism conferences and is currently operating a clinic in Mexico offering her CD protocol which she claims has ‘cured’ over 500 autistic children. She was approached by NBC news, who asked her to comment on her activities’ and responded with the statement ‘This is a medical issue. I have a degree in homeopathy and work with MDs and PhD scientists’ although tellingly (in my view) she refused to say where she obtained her degree or who these doctors are. NBC also obtained data from the American Association of Poison Control Centres that showed 2500 children have been treated by PCCs after ingesting MMS in the past five years.
However, there are people fighting the likes of Rivera. Good, decent people who enter MMS groups as ‘moles’ and who make reports to Child Protective Services when they obtain proof of children being harmed by MMS and who petition social media giants to take action. Happily, they’ve had some successes. In 2018 Facebook closed several of Rivera’s pages and groups and in 2019 they removed her public profile, a page for her book with 3600 followers and a ‘secret’ group with 550 members. Her book was banned from Amazon in March 2019 and days later YouTube deleted many of her channels and videos, followed by Yahoo cancelling her email account in April 2019. These are small victories; other groups and videos quickly popped up, but it shows people are fighting and that sometimes, they win.
And what of the parents giving their children MMS? I am both an Aspie and a mother. We do not know exactly what causes autism but we know it’s not fucking parasites and many of us in the autistic community do not want a cure. We want to be accepted for who we are and to live our lives in a way that works for us, not the way neurotypicals think we should live. As a mother, I do not have the right to do as I see fit with my chid, I have an obligation to protect him from harm and to make informed decisions about his health under the guidance of appropriately qualified professionals, rather than take the advice of avaricious quacks and Internet randoms. I have every sympathy for the parents of disabled children, the overwhelming majority of whom are doing the very best by their kids under incredibly difficult circumstances. My sympathy does not extend to ‘autism moms’ who wear their child’s diagnosis like a fashion accessory, making themselves both martyrs and heroes and who publicly flaunt puzzle pieces and their love for ABA, arrogantly refusing education from us in the autistic community on why these things cause such harm. Like with the anti-vax movement, MMS is embraced by middle class yummy mummies because it’s trendy. It gives them clout in their Facebook groups and allows them to demonstrate their disdain for ‘mainstream medicine.’ The gullible and the desperate often fall victim to quacks, and they deserve our kindness and sympathy. Better education is vital and media outlets in all their forms have a duty to ensure they are not giving a platform to harmful pseudoscience. And parents, all parents, have a fundamental duty to place their child’s wellbeing above their own vanity.

Published by ellie2308

Hi! I’m Ellie, an autistic mother of one. I love to write, and have created this page to share my work. I have a huge variety of interests, from politics to true crime and from motherhood to pseudoscience, and plan on covering whichever topic takes my fancy at the time.

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