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Bleach should not go there

By AlexC
Posted on: 8/15/2015

Child abuse for the sake of fake medicine is still child abuse.

When I first started learning about the so-called “biomedical” treatments available for autism, I was shocked and disgusted to learn of the practice of intravenous chelation as an “autism treatment.” For the uninformed, this so-called “therapy” involves strapping a child — often as young as three or four years old — down for two hours or more while you pump a powerful irritant into their veins.1 By all accounts, the substance in question burns, in a manner akin to acid.2

Even without the extensive and horrifying list of side effects and dangers3 associated with this “therapy,” this is an awful thing to do to an innocent child. Worse, there’s no credible evidence whatsoever that it actually helps the victims. It is supported only by junk science and parental testimonials. While I can sympathize with the situations of many of these parents, and understand their desire to create a better future for their children, there are limits to what this can excuse.

At the time, I honestly thought that this was as low as desperate parents and the fraudulent establishments set up to pander to them could sink. I was, unfortunately, naïve.

Then came the rise of OSR#1. An industrial chelator designed to precipitate heavy metals out of mine runoff and never properly safety-tested on humans, OSR was repackaged as an “antioxidant dietary supplement” by the anti-vaccine activist Boyd Haley and marketed to the parents of autistic children.4 The list of adverse events gleaned from parent testimonials in favor of feeding this poison to children is horrifying5, yet one of the distributors remains on the board of my county’s autism society.6

Once again, I thought that this “establishment” could sink no lower. Once again, I was quickly proven wrong.

In early 20097, I first heard of Mark and David Geier’s favored “treatment” for autism — chemical castration via repeated doses of Lupron, a drug sometimes used to treat prostate cancer by shutting down the body’s natural production of sex hormones. Perhaps more infamously, the drug is has also been used to chemically castrate sex offenders.8

Their “treatment” spawned a national network of clinics9 — clinics dedicated to “treating” autism by chemically castrating autistic children. Once again, there is no credible evidence that this does anything to make the victims less autistic.

Yet again, I was shocked and horrified. Yet again, I thought that I’d seen the worst of it. Yet again, I was quickly proven wrong.

Shortly after a clinic dedicated to the Geier castration protocol opened up near my house, I discovered that local parents were having pig whipworm eggs illegally shipped from Thailand so that they could deliberately infest their autistic children with porcine intestinal parasites in the name of “helminthic therapy.”10

At the time, I couldn’t imagine anything worse. Then came the rise of the fecal transplant as an autism “treatment.”11

I am not going to detail the process, beyond stating that it’s exactly what it sounds like. I will remark that it takes something truly special to have another kid’s rancid poo pumped into your child’s stomach.12

All of these, however, pale next to the latest form of abuse that the “autism recovery” movement has come up with: the bleach enema.

No, I’m not joking. I sincerely wish I was.

This is part of a complex “protocol” which makes no medical sense at all13, developed and promoted by a woman who proudly has proudly declared that she has no clinical or medical credentials whatsoever.14 From her home base at a hyperbaric oxygen clinic in Mexico, Kerri Rivera travels the world, teaching parents about the alleged glories of the centerpiece of her “treatment”: an industrial bleaching agent which has been rebranded as a so-called “Miracle Mineral Solution.”15

Within her protocol, children are made to drink this bleach, take baths in it, and, perhaps most disgustingly, take it via enema.

I remember watching in horror as Ms. Rivera presented to a crowded room full of desperate parents. Her preaching about the glories of bleach enemas and her announcement that her sole credential for promoting this was the fact that she’s a parent were met with thunderous applause. That the media is only now beginning to take notice of the phenomenon is inexcusable.

That was three years ago, now. I’ve been tracking them ever since, futilely wailing against the horrors that this represents.

This is not treatment — it is child abuse, plain and simple. There is no excuse imaginable which could justify this horrific insanity, just as nothing could possibly justify promoting or pandering to the environment of desperation, fear, and stigma which makes it possible. Enough is enough. These practices and those who support them must be condemned as strongly and unambiguously as possible.

It is long past time for us to take a stand. We, as a society, and as human beings, must come together and deliver a simple message, one which never should have needed to be said: bleach should not go there.

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[1] The use of the word “pump” is, admittedly, the result of my decision to use somewhat colorful language. The mechanism is typically an IV drip, and thus it is gravity pushing the irritant into the child’s veins rather than a mechanical pump. This doesn’t make things better.

[2] Most actual, first-hand accounts are regrettably in books, behind paywalls, or in places that are otherwise hard to link to. Medical sources minimize this, somewhat, since pain and discomfort are relatively minor side effects from the standpoint of genuine emergency medicine. See “Chelation Therapy Side Effects” for examples of what I’m talking about.

[3] For examples, see “
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid
” or “Chelation & Austism.” “Deaths Associated with Hypocalcemia from Chelation Therapy …” is also relevant. Yes, at least one child has died because of this.

[4] See the Chicago Tribune for a newspaper summary.

[5] Relevant excerpts are catalogued in “OSR: A Bevy Of Adverse Events.”

[6] The catalogue of distributors is, regrettably, no longer online. I can provide archived copies on request.

[7] As a chronological note of sorts, the Geiers’ chemical castration protocol was technically developed before OSR#1 started being marketed to kids. I simply found out about it later, due to differences in the ways they spread into my area. OSR was distributed throughout the country on release, while the Geiers castrated children for years before metastasizing.

[8] See “‘Miracle drug’ called junk science” and “Physician team’s crusade shows cracks” for the articles that first introduced me to it. While they barely scratch the surface, they serve as a more-than-adequate introduction.

[9] See “Why Not Just Castrate Them?…” and “Castration drug given to kids as autism therapy” for discussion and coverage, respectively, of the spread of the “clinics” (the specific clinic mentioned in the Sun Sentinel piece was within easy driving distance of my house).

[10] My discovery that local parents were doing this was through work — I was interning at a school; you can probably guess the rest. That said, “Judy Chinitz Helminthic Therapy: Worms, Autoimmune Disease & Autism is a parent account, courtesy of the National Autism Association. And Autism TSO is a website dedicated to promoting the “treatment.” The parents’ supplier, Biomonde, appears to have shut down its “helminthic therapy” website, and seems to be now selling “BioMaggots” for the debridement of wounds. There are, of course, other suppliers now, but I have no intention of providing resources for people who want to infest their children with porcine whipworms.

[11] Thankfully, this managed to remain relatively fringe. Still.

[12] There’s also no consistent protocol. That said, if you really want to be nauseated, there’s a first-hand and self-congratulatory account in far more detail than I ever wanted to read on the AutismWeb Forums. Yes, they really shoved that up their kid’s nose.

[13] It’s published in a book called, “Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism.” As I write this, the PDF is available for free (large download). Alternately, you can watch her present her “protocol” on YouTube. Decent blog discussion from a medical doctor can be found at Science-Based Medicine. The media has only recently taken notice of this, such as “The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to ‘Cure’ Them of Autism,” “Chicago Woman Promotes Controversial ‘Miracle Treatment’” (with a follow-up), and “The Bleach Prescription.”

[14] She made that claim rather boastfully, to my face. There are also recordings. She’s since “qualified” as a homeopath.

[15] Chemically, it’s chlorine dioxide. Many of the more recent promotions drop the “MMS” moniker in favor of simply using the chemical term. While they claim that it’s not bleach, and it’s technically not household bleach, yes, it is indeed bleach.

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