SA kids fed bleach as an autism ‘cure’

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:
BioSil’s Yvonne Blossom —‘No comment

BioSil’s Yvonne Blossom —‘No comment

BuckleSeverely autistic children in South Africa are being given industrial bleach in a product marketed as a “cure” for autism, reports The Times. Miracle Mineral Solution causes severe stomach pains, nausea, dehydration and spasms, and puts the children at risk of death.

The US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has warned that MMS causes ‘serious harm’ to health.

The Times health writer Katharine Child notes that the US Justice Department describes the solution, chlorine dioxide, as an “industrial chemical used as a pesticide (and) in fracking and waste-water treatment.” And, the report says, a US court recently sentenced Louis Daniel Smith to 51 months in jail for selling the product as a medicine. It is the first known jail sentence linked to the product, which is promoted globally as a cure for autism and a range of diseases including cancer and Aids.

Earlier this year a BBC London undercover investigation exposed a self-styled ‘reverend’, Leon Edwards, who sold sodium chlorite and hydrochloric acid to a reporter posing as the relation of an autistic child. Combined, the chemicals form bleach. Edwards was linked to the Genesis II Church, an American organisation which describes itself as a ‘non-religious church of health and healing’.

This is purportedly achieved through the used of so-called “Miracle Mineral Solution” (MMS), a bleach which is produced by mixing the two chemicals. The Genesis II Church claims its treatment can remove HIV, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and malaria, among other ailments. MMS was removed from the shelves by SA pharmacy chain Dis-Chem in 2010, following warnings by the US Food and Drug Agency.

The BBC also exposed a secret conference where MMS was promoted. Delegates were told to meet at a certain location before being driven to the venue, where they would be instructed in preparing doses of MMS to be consumed orally and taken via enemas.

Through his website, Edwards sold the researcher the one bottle of liquid labelled as 22.4% sodium chlorite and a second labelled as 4% hydrochloric acid. An independent laboratory, they were found to be 57% and 45% stronger than the advertised concentration respectively.

The report says local website sells the product and Cape Town-based autism organisation Reach Autism SA provides training in its use. It says two parents contacted believed the liquid cleansed the body of pathogens or germs. A former assistant at a school for the autistic claims she was forced to administer the solution to two pupils. Parents who saw their children vomiting or in pain believed the treatment was “getting rid of the autism-inducing parasites”.

South African Health Department spokesperson Joe Maila said: “Autism is a complex neurological condition. Parents who give autism patients bleach as a cure are only taking advantage of their vulnerabilities.” Cape Town doctor Louise Lindenberg is quoted in the report as saying: “I know of children who have been harmed by Miracle Mineral Solution. One of the children I had seen before landed in hospital with diarrhoea, weight loss, dehydration and metabolic disturbances.” She said some of the children had produced abnormal blood test results.

Biosil owner Yvonne Blossom refused to comment, the report says. Reach Autism SA, run by Jenny Buckle – several of whose children are autistic – provides training about the product to other parents. She began giving it to her children after attending a course in the US in 2013. She said they had made miraculous improvements. Ms Buckle is also the consulting expert on the Health24 autism forum.

Consumer activist and doctor Harris Steinman said selling an industrial solvent as a medicine was illegal. As defined in the Medicines Act, Miracle Mineral Solution was not a natural product or a registered medicine and it was therefore illegal to use it on children. But Buckle said: “My children are the happiest you will ever meet after this product. “It is chlorine dioxide, not chlorine. There is science behind it,” she said. “Maybe the product needs to be managed in some way. It should not be given without great care.”

The BBC report quotes Carol Povey, of the National Autistic Society, as saying: “No evidence of any kind exists to support the preposterous claims made for MMS as an intervention for autism.

“It is shocking that dubious companies continue to promote potentially very harmful products like these.

“Autism is a complex neurological condition, without a cure.”

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].”

Fiona O’Leary, a mother of two autistic children, is a leading campaigner against MMS. She warned: “This has been offered as a cure for autism in 60 countries.

“What worries me is people normalising this treatment – it does not even warrant the word treatment, autism is not a ‘disease’ that you can ‘cure’ with bleach.

“We need legislation so that people offering it are always prosecuted, but we don’t see the authorities addressing this issue.”

She added: “The suffering children are going through is shocking – it’s child abuse.”

In Canada, the product was banned after someone nearly died after using it in 2008. A Mexican woman who used the product for malaria prevention died in 2009. It is sold online in Australia, the report says.

Full report in The Times
US FDA warning
BBC London report background article

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