Bleach is being sold as a cure for autism. Yes, you read that right

    8 September 2015

    Bleach. Some use it to clean their clothes, others to lighten their hair. But even if having a Marilyn Monroe hairstyle is your ultimate dream, you know that bleach is strong and potentially quite deadly. You wouldn’t drink it to cure yourself of disease.

    That’s exactly how it is being sold, though. The ‘Miracle Mineral Supplement’ (MMS) is a toxic, deadly acid diluted with some water. Unlike homeopathic remedies based on sugar and frankly quite inoffensive, this supplement is an easy way to kill you.

    But what is more horrible is how this remedy is used. Like many old snake oil remedies, this supplement is used to cure such diseases as malaria, HIV and autism.

    Yes, you have read it right. Autism. MMS is used as a cure for autism. The problem with autism is that, unlike HIV or malaria, there is no comprehensive ‘cure’ for the condition. As I wrote in an earlier piece, autism is indeed a mysterious and complicated condition, and like any complex condition, it’s an easy way for charlatans to sell their ‘snake oil’ to parents. This phenomenon is hardly an accident of history, as the use ‘miracle cures’ is as old as disease itself.

    The ‘creator’ of MMS, Louis Daniel Smith, has been jailed. But his followers are still promoting his bleach as a cure-all.

    The sad thing is that parents want to help their child with autism and the lack of orthodox remedies is turning many people to pseudo-scientific claims from Dr Google. MMS is probably the most radical and deadly of these alternative solutions, but many other methods are promoted without any strong evidence. To have celebrities like Jenny McCarthy market such products of dubious value (though not MMS) only worsens the problem.

    The path to hell is paved with good intentions — in this case the good intentions of parents. Parents who want to help their child with the condition can end up doing more harm than good.