In the early 1900s, radium-laced water was marketed as a promising elixir that could cure anything from arthritis to impotence to aging skin. When people started to drop dead and five U.S. Radium Corporation employees known as “The Radium Girls,” sued their employer after contracting radiation poisoning, the public learned about the dangers of ingesting radium. The women won their case, which brought about the end of widespread use of the dangerous radioactive element in everyday products.
A similar story surrounds mercury’s storied history in the medical books. In the early 1900s, the poisonous chemical was administered liberally to treat syphilis. It was given by mouth, ointment, injection or through a vaporized process. One combination therapy, commonly known as the “magic bullet,” was a toxic arsenic-based compound. The side effects of these treatments were often as damaging and terrifying as the symptoms of syphilis itself. Many patients suffered from neurological damage, ulcerations and even death.
As medicine continued to advance and new discoveries were made, it became clear that it was not the ailments killing the patient, but rather the treatment itself.
In 1906 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), took its first active step in preventing these senseless deaths with the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act. The legislation prohibited interstate commerce in adulterated and misbranded food and drugs, and saw many con artists and quacks brought to justice for their crimes against the public. Many of the oils and elixirs marketed under false promises disappeared from the streets.
In 2016, you would think that we have moved past intentionally poisoning our sick and taking advantage of our disabled, but yet here we are, watching hundreds of our friends and relatives fall for the latest batch of miracle-touting supplements being peddled on social media and elsewhere. It’s turned into an epidemic, and it seems as though there is not much that we can do to control it. The truth of the matter is, that while the FDA can act as a gatekeeper for these products, there are simply too many on the market for them to keep up.
In one of the most extreme cases that I’ve seen lately, the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing has been peddling a so-called “miracle cure” for autism. An ABC News 20/20 investigation into Jim Humble, the man who calls himself an archbishop and allegedly claims to have come to Earth from another galaxy, has found that Humble and his church leaders use the internet to prey on the vulnerable and promote their elixir, dubbed “MMS,” which is short for Master Mineral Solution. The news station’s investigation into MMS found that for a church donation of $95.99, parents can obtain five sets of chemicals that, when mixed together, create a potion better suited for cleaning swimming pools or kitchen countertops than being ingested by a child.
One Department of Justice official told the news program that MMS is essentially Clorox, meaning these well-intended parents who are so blinded in their desperate search for a cure are essentially poisoning their autistic children. The children suffer from diarrhea and nausea— which the church claims means the solution is working.
I am heartbroken, and I believe that this is the highest level of crime that anyone can commit against vulnerable families and their children. There is no miracle fix for autism, but there are proven therapies and treatments that can help these families, which includes my own. These therapies have helped my son make countless advancements over the past 20 years without the aid of any harmful chemicals.
It appears that Humble has fled to Mexico, and while the FDA issued a warning on MMS in 2014, the product is still available for purchase through the church’s website and the videos explaining how to create the solution are up on YouTube. Federal authorities are already investigating Humble, and I believe that when the investigation is through he should be extradited back to the United States and potentially be jailed for a crime against humanity. I urge all of you out there who are dealing with a medical crisis or battle of your own to trust science when it’s well researched, and most importantly when it adheres to the “do no harm” approach in medicine.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.