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Bleach Doesn't Cure Autism, As Much As These Parents Want To Believe It Does

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Any parent who has seen their child endure a chronic condition or illness knows the deep desire a parent can feel for a magic solution that would solve their child's problems — but one group of parents may be taking things a little far. Recently, an ABC News and Eyewitness News investigation discovered that several parents in Southern California are now turning to bleach in an attempt to cure their children's autism. Unfortunately for their patients, however, bleach does not cure autism — and ingesting it can be incredibly dangerous.

The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing peddles its "miracle cure" for autism by calling it the "Master Mineral Solution," or MMS, a concoction made up of chlorine dioxide, sodium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, and sodium bicarbonate (also known as the ingredients that make up bleach). Kerri Rivera, who does consultations with parents who want to give their children MMS, told Complex that she believes autism is caused by parasites, which are then killed off by chlorine dioxide.

"They might as well be selling Clorox," Ben Mizer, who works in the Department of Justice, told ABC News. "You wouldn’t drink Clorox, so there is no reason you should drink MMS."

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 11: Bottles of Clorox bleach sit on a shelf at a grocery store on February 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Shares of Clorox stock rose 7.6 percent to close at $71.26 after billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed in a regulatory filing that he holds close to 9.1 percent stake in the company. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The thing is, there is no cure for autism at the moment. There are interventions that can help autistic children, though, and lifestyle changes can help reduce children's autism symptoms. Armed with the right information, parents can use tools to improve their communication with their children, help their kids learn to manage emotions, and provide much-needed structure, all of which can be incredibly helpful.

Still, parenting an autistic child can be supremely challenging, and no parent wants to witness their children struggle with symptoms. And for all of the good that treatment plans and therapy can help, no treatment plan will actually "cure" a child of autism. It's understandable that some parents turn to solutions such as MMS. If even just one person said that it helped them, why not try it?

One very good reason to avoid this supposed "miracle cure" is that it could kill your child. Reports made to the Food and Drug Administration about MMS include tales of "severe nausea, vomiting, and life-threatening low blood pressure from dehydration," according to an FDA press release.

Autism can be extremely hard to live with, and it's understandable that parents are looking for alternate treatments for their children. However, ingesting industrial-strength bleach — whether it's labeled as Clorox or branded as MMS — is never going to be the solution.