The poisonous treatment, sold under the name MMS, has been promoted and pushed by a “church” with a branch in Los Angeles, where a group of mothers and fathers have reportedly been duped into regularly dosing their kids with chlorine dioxide.
The potentially lethal mixture is being touted as a cure for cancer, HIV, malaria, and Alzheimer’s, in addition to austism. Doctors say there is no evidence to support claims the harmful substance has any medical benefits.
The secretive Genesis II Church was founded by Jim Humble, a former scientologist, who has claimed in a video to be a "billion-year-old god from the Andromeda galaxy".
An in-depth investigation by Eyewitness News and ABC News found that followers are recommending and comparing notes on MMS – short for "Miracle Mineral Solution" – in Facebook groups.
The solution includes two chemicals – sodium chlorite and hydrochloric acid – that combine to form bleach. It is usually sold to be taken orally, but parents are also told to use it as an enema.
The organisation, which describes itself as “non-religious church of health and healing”, claims MMS is no different from giving sacrament in church services. Proponents say it is "so benign you can use it on your skin, hair, ears, eyes, orally, rectally, vaginally, inhaled, etc".
But when mixed with fruit juice, as recommended, the solution acidifes to produce chlorine dioxide – a potentially lethal bleach used for stripping textiles.
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”.
ABC News and Eyewitness News said one follower of Mr Humble, Kerri Rivera, a woman living in Mexico with an autistic son, became famous and makes a living from promoting his teachings. In 2013 she published a book called Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism.
In the book, Ms Rivera claimed parasites and other pathogens cause autism. According to Ms Rivera, when the full moon rises every 29 days, parasites wreak havoc inside the guts of children with the condition. Chlorine dioxide can prevent this by killing the parasites.
“Autism is curable,” Ms Rivera said in a video. “I like to convince people they can cure their kids.”
She added: “I believe the missing piece of the puzzle to autism recovery is chlorine dioxide."
Ms Rivera instructs parents to give their children increasing doses of chlorine dioxide orally and by enema. Sometimes multiple enemas a day.
Dr Paul Wang, a pediatrician and the senior vice president of Autism Speaks, a nationally recognised US advocacy and support group, told ABC News and Eyewitness News parasites do not cause autism.
“No, parasites do not cause autism,” Dr Wang said, adding: “she says that MMS is not a bleach, but it is.”
The doctor continued: “And frankly, it's a poison. It should not be given to anybody with autism or cancer or diabetes or any other condition that they claim it can treat."
But ABC News and Eyewitness News found despite the warnings, there is a thriving, underground community of parents still using chlorine dioxide to treat their autistic children, clustered in southern California.
A private Facebook group called “CD Autism", has more than 7,000 members who share stories, including photos and videos of supposed "post-enema parasites".
“I started giving my son daily enemas four weeks ago,” one mother from Duarte, California, wrote, ABC and Eyewitness report. “Here's a tip: use lots of oil.”
“Can I try double dosing when he gets hyper?” a mother from Cerritos, LA, asked.
For one hour of consultation over Skype, Ms Rivera charges parents about $100.
She has claimed to have seen 234 people "lose their autism diagnosis with the protocol". She has also said there are no side effects to the treatment, which is out of the body "within an hour". Doctors say this is not true; taking chlorine dioxide orally usually causes nausea, diarrhea and vomitting. Followers of the church claim this is part of the "detox" process.
South Park, silent births and Nicole Kidman: The top 10 stories from the Church of Scientology
South Park, silent births and Nicole Kidman: The top 10 stories from the Church of Scientology
Tom Cruise is supernatural
After becoming involved with the organisation in 1986, Scientology poster-boy Tom Cruise is, you’ll be pleased to hear, progressing ever higher up the ranks of spiritual awareness, having now reached the stage of ‘Operating Thetan’ or OT. As Rolling Stone reported, OTs have the ability to move inanimate objects with their minds, leave their bodies at will and telepathically communicate with animals and human beings. Cruise’s relationship with Scientology has been well documented, including his criticism of Brooke Shield’s use of medication for depression and a video in which he raves “we are the authorities on the mind”.
Stop your crying: giving birth should be silent
Scientology states that words spoken during birth have an adverse effect on the child’s psychological state later on in life, including nightmares and insecurity. John Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston described in 2010 the silent birth of her second child as "just no words as much as possible".L. Ron Hubbard found that the single source of aberration is to do with the reactive mind, where "different words and commands can come back to affect you later in your life". So if you’re ever in labour, communicate silently with your medical team who will refrain from words of encouragement, and lie back to enjoy the silent zen of childbirth, ensuring your baby’s healthy reactive mind.
Don’t ever mention South Park
South Park’s airing of its 2006 episode ‘Trapped in the Closet’, which satirised Scientology and played on the homosexuality idiom to insinuate Tom Cruise’s sexuality, caused uproar. As the Independent reported, it didn’t only see worldwide protests and Scientologist Isaac Hayes who played Chef quitting; it also resulted in a Tom Cruise v South Park, Scientology v Viacom standoff as to whether the episode got a repeat airing. It didn’t end there though- last year it emerged that Scientology had been keeping tabs on Trey Parker, Matt Stone and their friends in order to dig up some dirt. To be continued…
The world is no longer lacking a nuclear alien space cathedral
If you were worried about aliens or Scientologists returning from outer space after a nuclear Armageddon and not being able to find the right place to land on earth, have no fear, because last month John Sweeny went to visit a 22-mile long crop-circle type marking in the ground created by Scientology for that specific purpose. According to Sweeney, the installation marks the spot of an H-bomb proof nuclear-bunker cathedral containing the lectures of Hubbard “on gold discs locked in titanium caskets sealed with argon”, built in the eighties at a cost of millions.
The Independent’s sources are “suborners of perjury”
If you become a Scientologist you should probably stop reading this newspaper, because everyone knows its sources are “liars” and “suborners of perjury”. After reporting on the aforementioned Scientology investigating South Park, our very own Guy Adams received an email from the organisation’s PR informing him in no uncertain terms that “it isn’t a story” and that his sources were liars. Independent Schmindependent.
Mental illness is a spiritual problem
Mental illness, it’s all in the mind! Well, according to Scientology it is. Controversies regarding the organisation and the welfare of its members, including a 1995 suicide and the 2003 death of a mother at the hands of her schizophrenic son who refused treatment have led to Scientology producing a legal waiver for all who enter it. One such, the Agreement and General Release Regarding Spiritual Assistance, contains clauses such as “I do not believe in or subscribe to psychiatric labels for individuals. It is my strongly held religious belief that all mental problems are spiritual in nature and that there is no such thing as a mentally incompetent person”.
Germans treat Scientologists like Nazis treated Jews
Since the early nineties Scientology and Germany haven’t been the most amicable of cohorts, as the U.S. Department of State criticised Germany for discriminating against Scientologists while Germany refused to acknowledge Scientology as a religion, instead deeming it a “profit-making enterprise”. In a 1996 open letter to Helmut Kohl, Chancellor of the German Republic, the likes of Goldie Hawn and Dustin Hoffman implored the “organised oppression” of Germany for its treatment of Scientologists and likened it to Nazi Germany’s offensive on the Jews. Germans have previously apparently boycotted the likes of Tom Cruise and Scientologist jazz musician Chick Corea, and according to a Time magazine poll 70% of Germans would ban the cult religion. Moral of the story: stay out of Germany if you’re a Scientologist.
You may be a victim of religious discrimination
Last month a Scientologist couple lost their battle to marry in a Scientology chapel in London, because the chapel wasn’t legally certified as a place of religious worship. Louisa Hodkin’s lawyers argued that she was being discriminated against because of her religion, and the case is now being taken to the Supreme Court. Other engaged Scientologists will be keeping a clear thetan and a close eye on the case, as the organisation has previously unsuccessfully applied for certification at other premises in England that they claimed are for religious worship.
Scientology doesn’t like messy celebrity divorces
Katie Holmes reportedly divorced Tom Cruise last year over his deepening involvement with Scientology and his plans for their daughter Suri to join Sea Org. Previously Catholic Holmes has allegedly insisted on an ‘ironclad’ clause in the divorce settlement which means Suri isn’t permitted to attend anything Scientology-related, while ex-scientologists have claimed to have seen internal memos which discuss ‘discrediting’ Holmes. Usually when a spouse becomes disillusioned with Scientology their partner is encouraged to ‘disconnect’ them, but Cruise doing this to Katie and his daughter would be a major PR disaster for the organisation. As Nicole Kidman once rejoiced, at least Katie Holmes can wear heels now.
The billion-year long contract should never be broken
The most elite members of Scientology form the Sea Org, must each sign a billion-year contract to “get ethics on this planet and the universe”. Last year, former member Astra Woodcraft decided to terminate her agreement with the faction, only to reportedly be tied to a door, malnourished, physically and sexually abused and told to abort her baby before managing to escape. Sea Org has also previously been accused of child cruelty, enforced labour and extreme punishment, so don’t sign on the dotted line unless you really want to “pledge your individual eternal commitment to the goals, purposes and principles of the Scientology religion”.
Ms Rivera insisted the potion was safe because it is chemically different from bleach, Eyewitness News and ABC News reported. She also claimed it's most effective when doses are timed to cycles of the moon. In November 2015, MMS use was found to have spread to the UK, with the first suspected case of a parent giving their child industrial strength bleach as a “cure” for autism investigated by Thames Valley police.
Other symptoms of chlorine dioxide poisoning, which doctors say can come from ingesting the substance include, bronchitis, wheezing, fluid in the lungs, headaches, breathing difficulties and a rapid heart rate.Reuse content