In The Politics of Autism, I discuss autism quackery. One particularly dangerous "cure" involves bleach.
A self-described “church” is promoting a dangerous miracle cure which claims to eradicate 95 per cent of illnesses including HIV and autism by making people drink bleach.
The quasi-religious organisation called Genesis II Church of Health and Healing was due to host an event in Leavenworth, Washington, on Saturday to push the “effective alternative healing”.
The group asked for payments of between $450 and $800 per person (£346 to £615) for couples attending the event in exchange for a year’s membership to the organisation and packages of bleach, known as “sacraments”.
Products or treatments claiming to cure autism are deceptive and misleading, because there is no cure for autism. The same is true of many products claiming to “treat” autism or autism-related symptoms. Some may carry significant health risks.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays an important role in warning companies against making improper claims about their products’ intended use as a treatment or cure for autism or autism-related symptoms.
FDA Cracks Down on False Claims
The Food and Drug Administration has warned and/or taken action against a number of companies that have made improper claims about their products’ intended use as a treatment or cure for autism or autism-related symptoms. Some of these so-called therapies carry significant health risks. For example,
FDA some quick tips to help you identify false or misleading claims.
- “Chelation Therapies.” These products claim to cleanse the body of toxic chemicals and heavy metals by binding to them and “removing” them from circulation. They come in a number of forms, including sprays, suppositories, capsules, liquid drops and clay baths. FDA-approved chelating agents are approved for specific uses that do not include the treatment or cure of autism, such as the treatment of lead poisoning and iron overload, and are available by prescription only. FDA-approved prescription chelation therapy products should only be used under professional supervision. Chelating important minerals needed by the body can lead to serious and life-threatening outcomes.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber and has been cleared by FDA only for certain medical uses, such as treating decompression sickness suffered by divers.
- Detoxifying Clay Baths. Added to bath water, these products claim to draw out chemical toxins, pollutants and heavy metals from the body. They are improperly advertised as offering “dramatic improvement” for autism symptoms.
- Various products, including raw camel milk, MMS (chlorine dioxide) and essential oils. These products have been marketed as a treatment for autism or autism-related symptoms, but have not been proven safe and effective for these advertised uses.
If you have a question about treatment, talk to a health care provider who specializes in caring for people with ASD.
- Be suspicious of products that claim to treat a wide range of diseases.
- Personal testimonials are no substitute for scientific evidence.
- Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, so be suspicious of any therapy claimed as a “quick fix.”
- So-called “miracle cures,” which claim scientific breakthroughs or contain secret ingredients, are likely a hoax.
The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development has more information about therapies and interventions for ASD, as does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.