Dangerous Interventions: MMS and Autism

Emily Willingham


Last week we became aware that a protocol for “treating” autism, called MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution), was presented at the most recent AutismOne conference.
The convoluted science behind this “solution” would be enough to turn
many people off, but the actual “treatment” is so abhorrent we wanted to
make sure that people know the background of MMS. Warning: the links in
this post may be a trigger because many of them point to communities
that equate autism with damaged goods. -JBM

AutismOne has a
of providing a platform for dubious “practioners” to
showcase potentially harmful wares to a willing audience. The peddlers at this
conference are no different from any other pseudoscience-pusher, including the
fact that they are more than willing to take advantage of the pop culture
fascination with autism, and induce a gullible audience to part ways with their
money, regardless of how ineffectual, or dangerous, their products may be.

The autism community is a vulnerable one for many reasons, but none are
more vulnerable than the autistic children on whom parents experiment with these
“treatments.” We’ve seen extreme examples before, including chelation, chemical castration, and hyperbaric oxygen
, all featured at AutismOne. All
unproven as therapies for autism and potentially damaging, even deadly. It’s
certainly a cognitive disconnect to blame autism on safety-tested medical
interventions, that are enormously effective and have no scientific link to autism,
but then to turn to flatly dangerous and even deadly interventions that have
undergone no testing of any kind–and experiment with them in children.

With the appearance of “chemical castration” or fatal chelation, one would
think that we’ve already hit the nadir of experimental “curatives” for autism,
but there’s yet another, lower point. Now we have a cadre of three people who
seem to have determined that autism is The Next Big Thing for their “curative”
of choice, a solution that is essentially industrial-strength
. This year’s AutismOne conference featured a presenter who told the audience that she has directed parents to use bleach
in the bodies of autistic children.

Before you read on, I have to warn you that what I describe here is child
abuse and tantamount to torture of autistic children. It is harrowing and

Before you read further or when you’ve finished reading, I encourage
you to please click over and sign this Change.org petition that TPGA
co-editor and co-founder Jennifer Byde Myers and I started, asking the FDA to
issue cease-and-desist orders against those shilling this bleach solution as an
“autism cure” in the United States. We also have included the Federal Trade
Commission in the petition, as they have some jurisdiction over trans-border
sales, and at least one of their group resides in Mexico, where
she peddles to local families.

First, a brief history: A man named Jim Humble seems to have realized that if
you cynically and wantonly make the right false promises, you can sell anything
to almost anyone, especially when a hot-button disorder or disease is involved.
So, he decided that he would sell a bleach solution to people to “treat” a host
of unrelated conditions, from malaria to flu, and now, autism. He’s reasonably
effective as a salesman, but he didn’t stop there. Humble actually has a
church (“non-religious” !), all centered around shilling bleach solution as a cure-all the
world over
. His sweep is international, and his
acolytes who go forth and share the Word of Humble appear to number in the

The church–dubbed Genesis 2–focuses
on proselytizing use of Humble’s bleach solution, initially called Miracle
Mineral Solution but now dubbed MMS. The Genesis 2 church “ordains” people at
different levels of the church hierarchy, including as “ministers of health.” And
it seems that in the last year or so, Humble has joined forces with two other
people in this “church” to target the autism community, hawking this bleach
solution as a cure for autism. Joining Archbishop Humble (I’m not making that
up) in his goal to bleach the insides and outsides of autistic children
everywhere are Bishop Kerri Rivera (a DAN! adherent, as well)
and sidekick the Reverend Doctor Janet Henshaw-Hedlund, featured here in a video with
Humble. The three have held a workshop in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where the threesome provide direction to “treat” autistic children by having them ingest bleach to the
point of vomiting and diarrhea, if not worse.

You can read about the claims they make about their solution at Science-Based Medicine, where
Orac has taken apart a presentation that Bishop Rivera herself made at
AutismOne 2012. Introduced by a woman wearing an “MMS Rocks!” t-shirt, Rivera
gave her misleading, anti-scientific, bleach-shilling talk (video here; viewer
beware) to what appeared to be a room that contained not a single dissenter,
not one person who stood up to ask, “Really? You’re recommending that we use a
bleach solution as an enema in autistic children? As a bath? As an oral

You read that correctly. Bleach enemas to cure autism. The protocols the
members of this trio recommend for the MMS treatment are just… traumatizing
even to read. One calls for a “treatment” every two hours for 72 hours, “every
possible weekend.” Humble writes of overcoming the “nausea barrier” to up the
dosage. Evidently, a “therapy” that induces nausea and vomiting and fever and
diarrhea is a “good” thing. And if you make up a “baby bottle” of it, that makes it seem even
more innocuous–or insidious, depending on your perspective.

Any child who is subjected to this abusive and torturous treatment would find
it more than insidious. Orac quotes a parent who writes
about her non-speaking autistic teen that the boy can’t tell her how he feels
as she doses him with the bleach solution. He vomits and has diarrhea “all
day”; she writes that he generally has a “sensitive” gut. Another mother set up
a blog to describe trying MMS on both her
autistic son and herself
, a sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis.
It’s heartbreaking but also enraging to read her posts as they reveal more than
she seems to see: Her son develops a sudden extreme fear of the bathtub, and
she can’t seem to understand why, even though six days earlier, she wrote that
they were about to try an “MMS bath” (i.e., a bleach solution bath; PDF of
Humble’s protocol for that here) on him. Then suddenly, the
blog ends with, “I cannot continue this blog. Sorry.” 

Yet even as that parent presumably ended her experimentation on herself
and her child, others crow about MMS
and its “curative” effects for autism and claim “miracles.” The reach of the marketing of MMS has been extremely effective in a very short amount of time in
disseminating their claims through the autism community. But nowhere have they
been as effective as they were in scoring a presentation at AutismOne, where
they had an in-person audience and an online audience able to watch their live-streamed presentation.   

AutismOne, you should immediately take steps to
publicly renounce your association with these people, particularly Kerri Rivera,
and the use of MMS as a therapy for autism
. Not to do so is tacit
endorsement of child abuse and experimentation on children that no society
should tolerate. You have allowed a cult that exists solely to shill bleach
solution to vulnerable people to hawk their wares and exploit you and your
conference attendees for their own ends. Do the right thing, do it publicly,
and do it now

In the meantime, we are working to make the FDA aware of all US-based
sellers of MMS and associated claims, asking them to issue cease-and-desists to
these vendors. Sellers are particularly careful — or they try to be — to claim
that they’re shilling MMS as a water purifier (a legitimate use of the solution).
However, they’ve made the mistake of mentioning Jim Humble (e.g., “Jim Humble approved!” and
“health enhancements” at Amazon.com) along
with their otherwise careful wording. It’s the virtual equivalent of putting
MMS solution on display next to Jim Humble’s books about MMS as a “cure-all,”
so that the latter constitutes labeling of the former. Humble is aware of the FDA and its
and that the FDA is aware of Humble
and MMS.

So, help us urge the FDA to do more here than the previous 2010 consumer
that they issued about MMS, before these snake-oil-peddling charlatans
turned their greedy eyes toward the autism community.
Why? Because now, these people have moved beyond targeting consenting adults.
They’ve moved into the realm of child abuse and child endangerment, and that
demands our involvement. Please sign the petition asking the
FDA to issue cease-and-desists to people selling this product as “Jim Humble
approved.” Please help make it extremely difficult for parents to acquire and
use this product on their children.