An unexpected substance has been cropping up in breaking news lately: bleach, a.k.a. chlorine dioxide, as a cure for everything from autism to AIDS.
“An American pastor [Robert Baldwin] from New Jersey backed by a British former clairvoyant [Sam Little] is running a network that gives up to 50,000 Ugandans a ‘miracle cure’ made from industrial bleach, claiming drinking the toxic fluid eradicates cancer, HIV/Aids, malaria and most other diseases.” – The Guardian
“YouTube has cracked down on videos posted by crackpots and fringe figures who promote a host of ‘miracle cures,’ including a holy elixir bleach peddled by a self-described archbishop from another galaxy [Jim Humble], according to a report.” – New York Post
And yesterday, an NBC News investigative report featured two mothers “…infiltrating more than a dozen private Facebook groups for parents of autistic kids.” Who comprises the groups? “…parents who say they have tried treating their children with chlorine dioxide.”
To be clear, there is no scientific evidence to support that bleach, chlorine dioxide, or Jim Humble’s bleach mixture that he calls Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) can cure any disease, medical ailment or condition. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a public warning to stop using MMS immediately. And the NBC News report shows that human consumption of chlorine dioxide is harmful and life-threatening, if not fatal. Their experts point out:
- Chlorine dioxide damages tissues in the digestive system and to red blood cells; in children it can cause irreparable harm.
- Liver and kidney damage/failure can occur from the consumption of chlorine dioxide.
- There have been 16,521 cases of chlorine dioxide poisonings reported nationwide in the last five years per the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
This mistaken belief of bleach’s miraculous curative powers isn’t new. Humble has been preaching about MMS for two decades. In fact, it was Humble who perked Kerri Rivera’s interest in trying bleach as a cure on her autistic son.
As reported by NBC News, Rivera said in her book Healing Symptoms Known as Autism (2013), “Disappointingly, there was absolutely nothing on the internet about autism and Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS).” So the former Chicago real estate agent-turned-bleach evangelist took to the web herself.
Rivera created a chlorine dioxide protocol containing sodium chlorite and acid. She proffers a line of supplements and offers regimens from a clinic she runs in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. And she preaches on various social media platforms of having cured more than 500 children of autism, though there is no legitimate medical evidence to back this up; likewise, many of these social platforms have attempted to block her.
Still, desperate parents — up to tens of thousands of them — scour the web for unconventional, and downright dangerous, ways to reverse autism. Those trying bleach do so through oral administration, enemas, and baths based on information from people like Rivera who have posted on YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and lesser-known platforms like MeWe.
Thanks to people like the two mothers featured in the NBC News article, actions are being taken to stop the spread of false and harmful information. As for Rivera, Facebook deleted her profile and book page. Rivera’s book has been banned by Amazon, her videos stripped from YouTube, and Yahoo canceled the email account she used to market her chlorine dioxide business. However, NBC News notes that Rivera continues to find backdoor ways to market her chlorine dioxide cures.
Though Baldwin was last contacted in New Jersey, he and Little are reportedly still conducting their “tests” in Uganda.
Working even more diligently? Real people seeking to stop these evangelists from taking advantage of desperate people.