Don’t treat Coronavirus with Bleach or MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution)

A group called the Genesis II Church has been falsely and dangerously promoting the use of “Miracle Mineral Solution” or MMS (bleach solutions) via ingestion or enema to cure a wide range of diseases for years. On April 17, 2020, a federal court issued a temporary injunction against this group to immediately stop distributing Miracle Mineral Solution as a treatment for COVID-19 or coronavirus. In a press conference on April 23, 2020, President Trump dangerously speculated about whether ingesting disinfectants may be effective against COVID-19. In response to the President’s words, the makers of Lysol and Clorox issued a warning against ingesting disinfectants. Some claim his words were taken out of context, but a presidential press conference is an especially dangerous medium for wild speculation about a dangerous, unproven and unfounded “treatment”. Chris Cuomo’s wife has been promoting equally unfounded bleach-based treatments for COVID-19 (we will not link to this and help their SEO). These fringe ideas about using bleach internally are not new or random as these methods have been promoted by the Genesis II Church for years.

Given the high profile of the people making these suggestions, it is critical that we address this dangerous misinformation to dissuade people from using disinfectants for any sort of medical treatment. We are also concerned that these high profile mentions, particularly due to society’s focus on coronavirus, will effectively validate use of MMS in children. We feel we must speak out against such child abuse.

The take-home message is: Do not ingest or inject disinfectants or cleaning products.

The US Environmental Protection Agency reminds us to always follow the directions when using a disinfectant, and:

  • Never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products. Do not apply disinfectants directly to food.
  • Never mix products unless specified in the use directions. Certain combinations of chemicals will create highly toxic acids or gases.
  • Wash your hands after using a disinfectant. This will minimize your exposure to the chemicals in the disinfectant and the pathogen you are trying to kill.

Warning: Some sections below contain images of biological materials that some may find disturbing as well as descriptions of child abuse. We have included warnings before each of these sections (How do people think MMS works? and How do kids reach to being given MMS enemas?).

Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) is a type of bleach. Cleaning products should not be used as medicine.
Cleaning products are not medicine.

“Miracle Mineral Solution” or MMS

In 2015, I began working with an amazing group of people from all over the world to raise awareness about the use of Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), an enema to “cure” autism. MMS is actually chlorine dioxide (CD), an industrial strength bleach. Proponents of MMS claim that autism is caused by parasites, and that bleach enemas remove the parasites and thereby “cure” autism. But what they think are parasites are really the lining of these children’s intestines that have been stripped away.

Some people blame the parents, but the real blame lies with proponents of MMS who take advantage of parents who are overwhelmed, trying to help their child, and searching for support. In a way, as a mother, I understand. Parents will try anything to help their child. When it comes to protecting my children, I can turn into quite the mama bear. So when proponents of MMS sell false hope, I can see how parents who can’t figure out how to help and support their kids might fall for it. However, proponents of MMS misrepresent science and flat out lie. “Miracle Mineral Solution” has no benefit and can only cause harm.

  • There is no scientific basis for the use of MMS to treat autism, COVID-19 or coronavirus, or anything else.
  • At the suggested doses, the chemicals in MMS are toxic.
  • Chlorine dioxide and sodium chlorite can cause (not cure) neurodevelopmental delay.
  • To experiment on children using untested and unproven treatments without appropriate regulation and approval is highly unethical.
  • The authorities are cracking down on those who sell and promote MMS and related products, for coronavirus or any other condition.
  • There are many resources with evidence-based information on autism. Seek out organizations that support autistic people, not ones that advocate for sham cures. See the end of this post for examples.
  • To repeat, MMS or any other disinfectant solution SHOULD NOT be ingested or injected for treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19), autism, or anything else.

What is MMS?

Chlorine dioxide (CD) is an industrial-strength bleaching agent that can be used in very low concentrations to purify water. Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) is sold as a 28 percent solution of sodium chlorite and an activator (an acid like citric acid). When these are combined, chlorine dioxide is formed. However, as shown by an analysis carried out by an independent lab at the request of investigative journalists in the UK, this reaction is highly inefficient and most (90 percent) of the sodium chlorite remains in this form. This produces a solution with concentrations of chlorine dioxide and unconverted sodium chlorite that are many hundreds of times higher than the acceptable limit set by the EPA. When people use this product, as an enema, orally, as eye drops, or other ways, the toxicity is mostly due to sodium chlorite.

Is chlorine dioxide a bleach?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes. It is most definitely a bleach. See this article by Emily Willingham for a demonstration of what chlorine dioxide does to a navy blue cloth napkin.

images showing a napkin with bleached spots after application of chlorine dioxide/MMS, the miracle mineral solution sham that should not be ingested or injected
MMS is a bleach solution. When prepared as directed, it bleaches dark fabric.

Proponents of “Miracle Mineral Solution” will tell you that chlorine dioxide is not a bleach since it’s not household bleach (sodium hypochlorite). Chris Cuomo’s wife also makes this argument in her post about using baths in bleach solutions to treat COVID-19 (which we will not link to in order to avoid promoting misinformation). However, bleach is a general term that includes any compound that removes color. Chlorine dioxide is a bleach. It’s not household bleach, but it is most definitely a type of bleach.

Andy Brunning from Compound Interest created this graphic to demonstrate some of the many different chemicals that are classified as bleaches.

image showing chemicals that can act as bleaches
Types of bleach: A brief guide

Who invented this protocol?

MMS was invented by Jim Humble. He is not a doctor, yet claims that the CD/MMS protocols cure Ebola, malaria, HIV and other diseases. He invented this “cure” while on a gold mining expedition in Guyana in 1996. In online videos, he claims to be a billion-year-old god from the Andromeda galaxy, specifically from the “Planet of the Gods”.  He founded his own “non-religious” church (their choice of words, not mine), the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, to protect himself and his “Ministers of Health” against legal action relating to his promotion of this protocol. They do not even try to hide that they formed this so-called church to protect themselves against prosecution and share information about how to avoid the authorities. This church looks very much like a cult.

Kerri Rivera is a “Minister of Health” within this church and has written a book describing her CD Autism Protocol, which discusses CD/MMS given by enema or by drinking to “cure” children of autism.  She is also not a doctor.

The next two sections below contain images that you may find disturbing and descriptions of child abuse. Click here to skip ahead.

How do people think MMS works?

The claimed justification for this protocol is that CD/MMS “cures” autism by removing the supposed parasites (“rope worms“, not a real thing) that cause it. However, there is zero scientific plausibility that this treatment has any benefit. Autism is a not a disease to be cured. Research shows that autism is largely genetic. There is no link at all between parasites and autism.  What Kerri Rivera and other proponents of MMS say are parasites are really the lining of the children’s intestines that have been stripped away.

The CD/MMS protocol is flat out child abuse. Warning, this next part is horrifying.

images of intestinal linings and intestinal parasites

How do kids react to being given bleach enemas?

Parents who are carrying out this protocol share their stories online. They share stories about their children crying in pain as they are held down and an industrial-strength bleaching agent is forced into their rectums. They share pictures of the lining of their children’s intestines falling out, toenails falling off, and hair falling out. They share that their children stop showing emotion and have a loss of appetite. These are all signs of chronic poisoning and chronic abuse, but in these groups, parents are congratulated for “curing” their children of autism. When parents post about disturbing symptoms their children are having in response to this “treatment”, the answer from the leaders is always – give more enemas.

These children are in pain caused by their parents. Children are supposed to be able to trust their parents. This is an utter betrayal of that trust.

Is MMS or chlorine dioxide toxic at the dose recommended in the CD Autism Protocol?

Yes. In fact, the FDA issued a warning about using this product in 2010:

“FDA warned consumers not to consume or use Miracle Mineral Solution, an oral liquid solution also known as “Miracle Mineral Supplement” or “MMS.” The product, when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health. The product instructs consumers to mix the 28 percent sodium chlorite solution with an acid such as citrus juice. This mixture produces chlorine dioxide, a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment. High oral doses of this bleach, such as those recommended in the labeling, can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.”

In 2000, the EPA did a comprehensive review of all the literature on the toxicity of chlorine-based disinfectants including chlorine dioxide and sodium chlorite. They used this review to determine safe levels for oral ingestion of these chemicals. They also determined the effects of toxic doses.

The EPA concluded that oral ingestion of chlorine dioxide and sodium chlorite is safe below 0.03 mg/kg/day. This “reference dose” indicates the dose that is safe to drink every day of your life with no adverse effects. This means that a 20 kg child can safely ingest 0.6 mg (0.00002 ounces). While the EPA says these compounds are safe below these levels, this also means that above these levels, they are not safe. Doses of CD/MMS prepared as directed are 10,000 times higher than the EPA reference dose and 520 times higher than the WHO maximum allowable daily dose.

These are also oral doses. Doses given rectally (by enema) are likely to have a much greater toxic effect. Rectal exposure was not tested by the EPA, as it is not a common route of exposure for disinfectants.

Proponents of this technique often cite a 2017 paper, Efficacy and Safety Evaluation if a Chlorine Dioxide Solution, as evidence that this is safe. However, this paper does support safety of this protocol at the doses used. The paper found that a “ClO2 concentration of up to 40 ppm in drinking water did not show any toxicity in a subchronic oral toxicity test”. As typically prepared, the concentration is closer to 300 ppm (mg/kg). This is far higher the maximum dose at which the scientists observed no toxic effect.

Perhaps the most shocking thing in this report is that the most consistent finding of long-term and developmental toxicity studies in animals was NEURODEVELOPMENTAL DELAY. So not only are people pushing a toxic substance, they are pushing a substance that is likely to cause the sorts of issues in children that they claim it prevents.

How do proponents of MMS distort the toxicity data?

In CD/MMS groups, people will often cite this 1982 paper as evidence that the EPA says chlorine dioxide is safe. There are numerous problems with this claim that show the ways that proponents of MMS manipulate information.

  • They misrepresent the source of the article. The article was not a publication of the EPA or carried out by EPA scientists. It was carried out by scientists at Ohio State University and was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, which is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
  • The paper showed that drinking up to 5 ppm of sodium chlorite or chlorine dioxide for 12 weeks was safe. There is nothing wrong with the research in this paper. It clearly states that drinking half a liter (about half a quart) of a 5 ppm solution of chlorine-based disinfectants is safe.  What dose is this?  Assuming an average weight of 90 kilograms (almost 200 pounds) for an adult male, this is a dose of 3.5 MICROgrams/kg.
  • Lab tests show that most (90 percent) of the sodium chlorite in MMS remains unconverted yielding a 391 ppm sodium chlorite solution with very little chlorine dioxide. This given as directed translates to a dose of 312 mg/kg daily (for a 20 kg child). That’s MILLIgrams.  312 compared to 0.0035. The safety of a 0.0035 mg/kg dose tells us nothing about the safety of a 312 mg/kg dose.

Medical experimentation on children

Another huge issue with using MMS on children, whether as a supposed cure for autism, coronavirus, or anything else, is that using unproven treatments is medical experimentation. Medical experimentation without proper approvals and oversight is a huge ethical issue. The National Institutes of Health have strict guidelines governing when it is ethically appropriate to use humans, especially children, as subjects in medical studies. All human studies performed by medical professionals must be approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), a committee of scientists, doctors and community members, to ensure that human subject research is conducted in accordance with all federal, institutional and ethical guidelines. To use an unproven treatment without approvals on a child is experimentation and violates all of these guidelines.

Where can parents of autistic children find accurate information and helpful resources?

I imagine that parents find CD/MMS because they are looking for support and resources to help them navigate raising an autistic child. Parents are also looking for accurate information on coronavirus, and it’s unfortunate that they find information about CD/MMS and other fake cures, instead of the excellent resources that provide accurate information and assistance. Here are a few reputable sources for different kinds of information about autism:

  • Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: This is a great resource for “for carefully curated, evidence-based information from autism parents, autistics, and autism professionals”. This page links to many blogs and Facebook groups in the Contributors sections. The resources section also provides links to many helpful resources.
  • Autism Self-Advocacy Network: Their page also has a resources tab with helpful links. ASAN advances the principles of the disability rights movement. One of their major goals is to ensure that autistic voices are heard in the public conversation about autism.
  • Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative: for current scientific research into autism
  • National Institutes of Health Autism Centers of Excellence: NIH-funded research centers in the US
  • Exposing Autism One (website and Facebook page): This page was created by the author and a group of advocates to counter the misinformation presented at the annual Exposing Autism One meeting

Parts of this post were originally published on August 3, 2015 on the now-inactive blog, “It’s Mom Sense”.