The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating an incident where a mother reportedly created a dangerous chemical mixture to try to cure her child of autism.
The mother mixed hydrochloric acid and a water purifying solution, which includes chlorine, for her child to drink after reading about a “miracle mineral solution” (or MMS) in a Facebook group. The treatment includes giving children chloride dioxide orally or with an enema.
The Department of Child Services has now removed the child from her home after her father reportedly accused his wife of trying to give their daughter bleach, according to Fox59.
In the autism community, the mixture is a controversial topic which experts say has deadly consequences. Dr. Thomas Frazier, chief science officer of autism awareness organization Autism Speaks, told Newsweek that parents often turn to the mixture out of desperation.
“Parents become very frustrated [that] they are not able to access the care they think is effective…so they begin to get desperate and start to try to think of things they can do on their own,” he said. “This is a really, really unfortunate situation.”
Parents come across the recipe for the bleach mixture in Facebook groups, chat rooms and conferences touting ways on how they can allegedly cure their child of autism. Frazier said there is no such cure for autism, only evidence-based care to help support children.
In January, authorities in England interviewed several families about children ingesting dangerous chemicals to cure their autism. Parents in one Facebook group claimed that autism was caused by parasites and could be cured with MMS, according to the Sunday People.
British health officials have warned that the use of MMS can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gut damage and respiratory failure. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the chemicals produce “an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health.” Despite warnings, the mixture is still for sale online.
In 2015, a federal jury handed down a guilty verdict to a man in Spokane, Washington, for selling industrial bleach as a miracle cure to treat everything from cancer to AIDS and malaria.
Like the mother in Indianapolis, parents have tried anything from MMS to injecting their child with infections and ordering compounds online to find a cure for their child’s autism. Frazier said parents with middle to high-income backgrounds are most likely to search online for cures.
“People who have more resources are more likely to engage more time, energy and money,” he said.