Police have been urged to investigate the first suspected UK case of a parent giving their child industrial strength bleach as a “cure” for autism.
Thames Valley officers have received a complaint that a young mother was using doses of MMS or “Miracle Mineral Solution” on her young son who has autism.
MMS involves giving children two chemicals – sodium chlorite and hydrochloric acid – which combine to form bleach. It is usually sold to be taken orally, but parents are also told to use it as an enema. The potentially lethal mixture is being touted as a cure for autism, cancer, HIV, malaria and Alzheimer’s by the US-based Genesis II Church.
The organisation, which describes itself as “non-religious church of health and healing”, claims MMS is no different from giving sacrament in church services. Medical experts have rubbished the healing claims made for the product.
The cure has already been linked to one death and there are several reported cases of those taking it suffering serious injuries. It was banned in Canada after it caused a life-threatening reaction in an elderly man. The US Food and Drug Administration warns that the product “used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health”.
The dangers of 'Miracle Mineral Solution'
MMS, or Miracle Mineral Solution, is quackery of the worst order. The name was invented by US entrepreneur Jim Humble who claims it helped him recover from a bad bout of malaria in South America.
MMS is not approved for the treatment of any disease anywhere in the world and, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, chronic exposure to small doses of chlorine dioxide could cause damage to brain development.
In the UK, It falls to the Food Standards Authority (FSA) to police the product as it is classified as a food supplement. It first warned in 2010 of the threat from MMS, telling people to consult their doctors if they had consumed it and felt unwell. The product could cause severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, potentially leading to dehydration and reduced blood pressure. If the solution was diluted less than instructed, it could damage the gut and red blood cells.
A similar product known as Chlorine Dioxide Solution (CDS) should also be avoided.
When mixed with fruit juice, as recommended, it acidifes to produce chlorine dioxide – a potentially lethal bleach used for stripping textiles.
Last month a US vendor was jailed for four years over MMS in the first prosecution of its type. In the UK, the Food Standards Agency warned that MMS should not be taken as it can cause vomiting and diarrhoea as well as damage to the gut.
Despite this, the product is widely available on the internet, and social media groups which promote it have more than 1,000 members.
Autism activist Emma Dalmayne, who infiltrated one group, reported the case to police after discovering evidence that a mother living in the UK was using the product herself as well as giving it to her young son. It is the first suspected case in Britain.
“As a parent of a autistic children, I know the desperation to make things better for your child, but it’s unbelievable that these people are using an unscientific, unproven and unregulated product on their child,” Ms Dalmayne said.
“The fact their children get ill [as a result of MMS] and are in pain should be enough to get them to stop immediately. Sadly, they don’t.”
She said people joining the websites and seeking to buy MMS are warned by the organisers not to speak to health professionals or relatives about what they are doing. Thames Valley Police declined to comment on the case, but confirmed that a complaint had been received.
Ms Dalmayne criticised the slow response of regulators to the threat from MMS. “The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Trading Standards are not acting swiftly enough to shut down the suppliers, which is why, I, as a member of the public do what I do.” Autism groups have also criticised regulators for failing to shut down websites selling the product.
Fellow activist Fiona O’Leary said: “We want the MHRA to tackle this situation like their colleagues in Ireland who acted swiftly when hearing about establishments selling MMS.”
The spread of the MMS cure is troubling regulators. Five months ago Surrey Police and Trading Standards officers interrupted a Farnham meeting of the Genesis II Church after it was advertised that MMS would be supplied at the meeting.
A spokeswoman for the MHRA said: “While the contents of MMS are a chemical, it has no proven, or conceivable, health benefit and is not a medicinal product.”
The Food Standards Agency said: “Our advice is that MMS is not safe and should not be sold as a supplement. MMS is commonly used as bleach and can be harmful.”
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