Ireland Is Trying to Crack Down on the Parents Who Make Their Autistic Children Drink Bleach
Fans of "Miracle Mineral Supplement" claim that it can cure everything from malaria to autism, but the substance could seriously harm the kids who are drinking it.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS) is a toxic solution of sodium chlorite and citric acid that forms chlorine dioxide—a powerful chemical used to bleach textiles and wood pulp. In Ireland, parents are being investigated for forcing children to drink it, or take it as an enema, as a "cure" for autism.
MMS is touted as a "medicine" by followers of a cult called Genesis II. They believe bleach can cure children with autism, which they reckon is caused by parasitic worms that multiply during the full moon. MMS has been sold on the internet for some time, and last month, Ireland's Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) and the Gardai opened a criminal investigation into it. A dentist and two nurses are currently be ing investigated for supplying the toxic solution as a medical treatment.
You don't have to complete a first aid course to know that drinking bleach is bad for you. It causes boils, intestinal bleeding, and renal failure, yet some parents in Ireland have been using the "treatment" introduced by Jim Humble, head of the US Genesis II Church of Health and Healing—regularly referred to as a cult. An active MMS website in Ireland pushes the solution as a cure for, well, loads of things.
This is despite the HPRA releasing a statement saying that selling MMS is illegal. "The HPRA confirms that the product referred to as Miracle Mineral Solution ('MMS') is not authorised as a medicine for sale or supply in Ireland," it said. "Any manufacture, supply or sale of this product for the purposes of treating a medical condition is thereby illegal."
I spoke to Patrick Merlehan, a member of the Genesis II church in Ireland. He told me MMS cures "pathogens" and is a miracle cure. He mentioned that the Red Cross have supposedly used MMS in clinical trials—a line often used by MMS supporters. There's even a YouTube video "proving" the treatment works against Malaria.
"MMS cures Malaria, it's been proven by the Red Cross. They're denying it now because big business influences all their decisions," said Merlehan. "I've met a few people who use MMS but they're nervous to go public because of harassment from the state through its organs like the HPRA. The media is very unfair on MMS here because they've got their advertisers to think about, who are of course big pharma companies."
The video "proving" that having bleach enemas cures autism
Unsurprisingly, the Red Cross disagrees with Merlehan's assessment that bleach can cure Malaria. They issued a statement slamming the practice and distancing themselves from the church. "The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies dissociates itself in the strongest terms from the content of the Master Mineral Solution newsletter entitled 'Malaria finally defeated' and supporting YouTube video," said the unequivocal statement.
On the MMS Ireland website, you can still register to become a "Health Minister" in Jim Humble's church. The ex-scientologist, described as a "former aerospace industry engineer and gold miner" is credited with developing lunar vehicles, atomic weapons and apparently he even invented the first automatic garage door.
Humble recommends parents give their children up to 60 drops a day and claims the nausea that follows in a signs the treatment is working. Sickness and intestinal bleeding are explained away as "pathogens being destroyed" while parents are encouraged to check the feces that follows ingestion for "worms" which are supposedly excreted, which is meant to prove that MMS is working.
Fiona O'Leary, the founder of Autistic Rights Together (ART)—who has autistic children—has monitored social media groups pushing the practice internationally. "The buzzwords these people use are 'unlocking' children, or 'freeing' them, but my buzzword for this is 'torture', plain and simple," she told me. "They put it into children's eyes to 'cure' any vision issues and some parents can give their children up to six bleach enemas a day. They post pictures of their children covered with boils and burns on social media", she said.
The Twitter hastag #mms brings up an alarming number of suppliers, claiming the bleaching solution can cure people of anything from HIV to cancer. Many pay homage to Jim Humble and his protégé Kerri Rivera. Rivera has claimed over 177 children have "lost" their diagnosis of autism since they started taking the "solution."
O'Leary says that legislation needs to be passed to protect children with autism from being abused. "It's torture and it makes it worse when the children are autistic... I see it as experimentation, these procedures are unregulated and unlicensed and these children pay the price. We need organisations to step up and push the government to pass legislation so this never happens again," she told me.
When I asked Patrick Merlehan why some people might think drinking industrial bleach is bad for you, he rambled on about big pharma before blaming social welfare. "If you're ill and you're living off the state and getting benefits you don't want to get well. You want to keep the money, it's that simple. They know what we have is the cure but they don't want it. They want to keep getting state money," he said.
O'Leary is hopeful that investigations like the one in Ireland could help prevent Genesis II from spreading MMS around the world. "I think Ireland is incredible in what we've achieved this year shutting down these people. I'm hoping that the investigation here will trigger more investigations on a global level. These kids need to be checked out and put into safe environments. They will carry the scars of this torture for the rest of their lives," she said.
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