Amazon has removed from its offerings several books that promote the use of bleach to cure autism and other health conditions after reports of parents force-feeding their children the toxic chemical as a “miracle cure.”
The books and online publications preach the use of chlorine dioxide, a disinfectant that’s marketed as “Miracle Mineral Solution,” or MMS. A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed the publications’ removal to HuffPost on Wednesday but declined further comment.
One of the removed books claims MMS has cured “a wide range of disease,” including cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and autism.
That book’s author, Jim Humble, is a former Scientologist and self-appointed archbishop of a church that sells MMS. He’s also claimed to be a billion-year-old god from another galaxy, KABC has reported. Humble did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Claims touting MMS’s alleged health benefits contrast with warnings from the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and numerous officials with other health organizations who caution that administering such chemicals to children “could have unforeseen consequences to their immune systems.”
“MMS has properties similar to Clorox® bleach, which can burn the upper digestive tract,” a group of doctors said in a joint statement shared by the Autism Research Institute.
“We have seen severe mineral deficiencies, malabsorption, loss of beneficial flora, and anemia in our patients who have undergone this treatment. The disruption of children’s gut epithelium and flora could have unforeseen consequences to their immune systems,” the doctors said. “At some point later in life, they may be also at higher risk for esophageal or stomach cancers, among other issues.”
The publications’ removal comes nearly three months after the content was flagged to Amazon by a reporter for Wired. At that time, the company responded by noting guidelines that said its policy is to offer “a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable.”
Amazon’s book removal also comes days after NBC published a report that investigated parents who advocate for chlorine dioxide on social media in hopes of “curing” their children’s autism. The parents described their children as “gasping,” spitting and screaming in response to having to drink the chemical.
Though websites like Facebook and YouTube have taken similar measures to remove pages that endorse MMS, many still remain online.
A spokesperson for Facebook told HuffPost that pages promoting or providing instructions for making or using non-medical drugs, excluding alcohol and tobacco, violate Facebook’s Community Standards and will be removed as soon as the company becomes aware of them.
“We believe in giving people a voice, but we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe,” the spokesperson said, while confirming that two such pages for Humble and another advocating MMS are no longer available.
A spokesperson for YouTube did not respond to a request for comment.
The focus on the use of chlorine dioxide as a possible “cure” for autism has intensified amid the new outbreaks of measles in the U.S. and elsewhere. The outbreaks are due largely to the rise of the anti-vaccine movement ― the false claims that vaccinations to prevent measles can cause autism in children.
This story has been updated with a response from Facebook.