The Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) is, essentially, industrial strength bleach (28% sodium chlorite) that, when diluted in acidic juices, results in the formation of chlorine dioxide, a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment. As a treatment for medical conditions (and other things) MMS should rank as among the most dangerous and delusional pieces of quackery out there, yet according to proponents, MMS can cure almost anything from cancer to AIDS and anything in between and beyond. There is no biological plausibility to any of these claims, and no evidence, either preclinical or clinical, that MMS can do what its proponents claim it can do. According to Kerri Rivera, one of the most dangerous and insane people on the planet, MMS can – in particular – cure autism, and her abhorrent insanity has unsurprisingly made significant inroads in already severely reality-challenged antivaxx communities, whose members, demonstrably mistakenly, still think that vaccines cause autism. Rivera was for instance invited to talk at the 2012 Autism One Quackfest to convince parents to torture their autistic children by giving them painful bleach enemas. As Rivera sees it, “autism means that your child has virus, bacteria, Candida, inflammation, heavy metals and food allergies ... [this is, hopefully needless to say, insane nonsense],”therefore these children take (her) poison, which would do nothing to address these issues if they had anything to do with autism, which they don’t. At the conference, Rivera boasted about 38 children who purportedly recovered in 20 months (by 2018 the number is allegedly in the hundreds, and if you need proof that her numbers are nonsense, here it is).
Needless to say, her presentation was short on documentation but rich on paper-trail-less anecdotes. Among the attendees it seems to have been sufficiently popular to get her reinvited in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Indeed, media attention to her dangerous nonsense prompted the Illinois attorney general to send agents to her presentation at the 2015 conference and serve her with a subpoena; unable to present evidence for MMS’s benefits, Rivera was forced to sign an agreement barring her from further promoting MMS or appearing at conferences in the state of Illinois. Rivera has since announced that she will no longer do MMS consultations for autistic kids. MMS remains popular in antivaxx communities, however, and central players like Julie Obradovic and JB Handley quickly ran to Rivera’s defense when she was “attacked” by skeptics. Rivera herself addressed critics by telling them that “You have your science all wrong. The websites that you site are incorrect.” Short and sweet, in other words.
Rivera runs, or at least used to run, a clinic in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, called AutismO2 Clinica Hyperbarica (Rivera is also fond of hyberbaric oxygen therapy), where she would expose autistic children to MMS by mouth and enema – at her AutismOne presentation she also discussed “recent protocol developments around MMS and Autism, such as loading the dose, the baby bottle, the baking soda mix, enemas, baths, and how to handle a fever.” One would think that parents bathing their babies in bleach and putting bleach in their bottles would face some social condemnation. Occasionally, Rivera uses the letters “D Hom” after her name. D Hom is not a real degree. But as a homeopath, perhaps Rivera could at least dilute her bleach to the point where there is not a molecule left before serving it to children? According to homeopathic theory doing so shouldn’t decrease its effectiveness, quite the reverse.
Apparently, children undergoing the therapy she recommends will often experience diarrhea (which is “good” since it is a “detox diarrhea”) and fever, which according to Rivera is also good since it is “waking up the immune system” to realize that there’s “autism in the house.” This is, hopefully needless to say, not how this works. And what do you think is her evidence that the regime has any benefits? Nothing, of course – Rivera has some undocumented anecdotes, which really, really means nothing. She also has leaflets and handouts with the fake Schopenhauer quote about truth “passing through three stages”, which is, of course, false but a surefire sign that we are dealing with a quack. There is a horrifying account of one of her clients undergoing her treatment regime here, and a good takedown of her dangerous nonsense here. A response from (insane) MMS and Rivera apologist Adam Abraham is discussed here.
Ultimately, and as mentioned above, attaining good health is (apparently), according to Rivera, mostly a matter of getting rid of toxins and parasites. As described in her book Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, “[a]lmost all of the people with autism have high levels of pathogens; virus, bacteria, parasites and heavy metals. Chlorine dioxide kills pathogens and helps the body to detoxify itself. It is considered safe at doses we use for weight.” It is not considered safe, and Rivera has no remotely reliable test for “levels of pathogens” beyond the a priori, of course. But this is really a matter of religion – what she is promoting is a cleansing ritual – not evidence, truth or reality; indeed, seeing how no player in the antivaxx community can bring themselves to criticize even feeding bleach to kids with autismshould really, really illustrate how much of a cult the antivaccine movement has become (unity against criticism from the outside is a familiar hallmark of cults).) None of the parasites in question actually exist, of course, which is good, since MMS would presumably not have had helped deal with them anyways – the rationale behind MMS is that bleach unsurprisingly can kill microbes in petri dishes; therefore it can kill them in the body, too, without harm; and therefore all disease, also autism, is caused by microbes. Needless to say, none of those steps in that piece of reasoning are anything but idiotic. There is a good resource on Rivera and her crazy here.
Currently, Rivera also runs CD Autism, a “grassroots movement” devoted to marketing and selling her products and services. More recently, she has also launched ketokerri™, a company selling supplements (particularly targeted at kids with autism who have already suffered through her bleach enemas) supposed to aid with “natural healing processes.” Apparently she is enjoying both recognition and influence in a variety of quackery group. And her MMS insanity continues to be used, despite demonstrably causing irrevocable harm to children.
Diagnosis: As sane and scientific as the flat earth movement, but far more harmful. Now, Rivera’s base is in Mexico, and we cannot say with any confidence that she’s actually American. But she has at least enjoyed plenty of popularity in the US, and what really matters is presumably ultimately that her insanity – and the cult that has grown up around her and her crazy – is exposed.