By mid 2017 sodium chlorite, also known under the name A wonderful mineral solution (MMS) became the center of media controversy, after Dr Ricardo Soto promoted on Open TV in the "Welcome" program on channel 13 as a natural remedy. It was quickly identified as a health hazard by Seremi de Salud Metropolitan and led to the cancellation of the program to promote this "addiction" to the Chilean public, which led to unrestricted exit from the television.
However, two years after the controversy, MMS is still easy to get in Chile, and seminars are also organized through which ways to use this substance are shared. How are people still attracted and what can be done to prevent the abuse of this industrial product?
MMS: who sells it in Chile and why it is poison
First, you need to understand where MMS comes from. His creator, Jim Humble, says he discovered the healing properties of this compound in 1996 during an expedition to South America, using it to remove malaria in people who were infected during the journey.
Humble is currently leading his own church, named Genesis II, through which he promotes the use of this substance. During 2013 he visited Chile to hold a product seminar. Their website states that MMS not only can cure malaria but also conditions such as autism and diseases such as cancer, diabetes or hepatitis A, B and C, among others.
The idea is that sodium chlorite, which makes MMS, after activation when combined with acid, generates a gas called chlorine dioxide that supposedly works within the body, attacks the molecules and parasites that cause the disease. This is explained in the video that has been uploaded to the Mindalia Television channel on Youtube (currently disabled by YouTube) Andreas Kalcker, one of the world's best known promoters of this substance.
There are also variations, such as "inactive" methods Gregorio J. Užitci, which is explained in an interview with Canal 9 in Ecuador. His idea includes a prior honey and cinnamon intake to produce acid in the stomach, then injecting sodium chlorite into an aqueous solution so that the chemical reacts within the body, releasing internal chlorine dioxide and not "activating it". In both cases, the hypothesis suggests that it will only act against the cells that cause the disease.
however this hypothesis is wrong, Sodium Chloride has been repeatedly identified by chemistry experts as toxic agent due to its propertiesIt reacts against all cells in the body when they come in contact with them, without distinguishing the healthy from one of the pathogens.
This is explained by the doctor Eduardo Pino, president of the Chilean School of Chemist, who stated in the statement of the University of Santiago de Chile "Sodium chlorite, as indicated on your safety sheet, is extremely irritating to the skin and mucous membranes".
"When inhaled it can be deadly, causing very serious burns through all the ways of entering the body, "he continues.
One of the most extreme cases related to the negative effects of MMS is that of Sylvie Nash, a woman who died a few hours after consuming the substance promoted by Jim Humble and his followers during a travel by ship in 2009.
According to information from the American media ABC News, Nash decided to take MMS to prevent malaria during his trip, but only 15 minutes after taking, he began to suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and eventually loss of consciousness.
Despite her partner's attempts to rescue her, she died at sea before everything could be done. The autopsy conducted by experts revealed a high sodium chloride concentration in the body but could not determine the cause of his death. However, her husband directly accused MMS of his death.
Other cases, such as those reported by Emma Dalmayne, an activist focusing on the rights of people with autism in the UK, show that children who received MMS, either orally or through the air, suffer from the same symptoms.
Among some of the situations reported by the British media The Guardian, there were several children who began to feel the pain in the whole body, they saw the urine becoming pink in color, or went to the bathroom, or in the most extreme case. They had seizures after they had taken the alleged drug.
Dalmayne published photos published in Facebook on parenting groups that showed these effects, as shown in the YouTube video. These groups are quickly closed after this publication.
Despite the negative attention it has received around the globe, this product is still being promoted online in Chile, mostly through social networking groups and web sites of its followers, using platforms such as Facebook Marketplace or Mercado Libre to sell them.
Among these groups, conversations like Gregorio J. Placeres, a man claiming to cure & # 39; autism in more than 100 children. Placeres was received by Chile's Pro Natural organization, which shared more photos of its members with her Facebook group
The Pro Natural Group is directly associated with the sale of these products and the substance maker and the Church in Post II. In Mercado Libre you can see that not only MMS bottles carry the organization's logo, but also the name of Eyre Pacheca, the Reverend Church of the Genesis II, with a certificate signed by Humble for completing the seminar. .
BioBioChile He contacted representatives of Jim Humble to inquire about these certifications and product sales using his name, but he did not receive an answer at the time of publishing this article.
Mercado Libre said that after contacting BioBioChile, it would continue to cancel MMS-related publications on the platform, as it was not a product approved by the Public Health Institute because it poses a health risk.
Gregorio Placeres has in the meantime participated in several seminars promoting MMS in other countries, such as Spain, where the organizers canceled the meeting due to the pressure of the Committee for the Promotion and Support of Autistic Girls and Women (CEPAMA). which tracks the right people with autism.
Despite the fact that several countries have condemned the use of sodium chlorite as a drug, including the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom, the Spanish Medicines and Healthcare Agency, and Health Canada, satisfaction continues to enjoy hundreds of social networking followers and has so far managed to avoid legal problems.
How to attract people and why they focus on autism?
Facebook and YouTube are two of the most popular MMS reach extension platforms, but there are people who use these social networks to warn of the dangers of this substance.
Myles Power is an industrial chemist in the UK who uses part of the free time to research and detect health-related movements with dangerous aspects, including a vaccine or a group that denies the existence of AIDS.
In 2016, Power released a video explaining the use of this chemical and its derivative gas, chlorine dioxide, after investigating closely related groups in their country. It would be the first in a series of publications he had created, exploring the scope of this "miracle drug," including his abortion of a fake clinical trial in Africa led by MMS promoters.
In an interview with BioBioChile, Power argues that one of the ways these groups attract people by promoting MMS as a "natural" drug, assuring them that the adverse effects that children or adults injecting into the product are actually positive.
"One would think it would be a red flag, but people who promote these products say" no, do not worry about it. "Actually, that's a good thing – these are parasites that come out of their children and they will be better now. It's a mantra that is often repeated, that pain is healing, he says.
"When you visit these groups, sometimes he sees people dying"Says power." "You see people who say" I stopped taking the medication, but I did not feel good "and the same members will say" just continue eating the fruits, you will be fine ", and they will see" no, I still feel worse. " continues until you finally realize that a person has stopped publishing in the group and is most likely to be because he died, "he continues.
These groups are very similar to each other because they use the same modus operandi. "They come from the same mold, especially those that are extreme, first you have a leader, such as Jim Humble for MMS or Danny Glass for Terpentine Therapy, people who do not have much medical experience but those who say they are" worried about helping people "and this attracts many people."
"They say they do not have to listen to doctors, because they give you medicines to bring money to you," and only that leader and his followers are there to help people, that's exactly the same idea. which one of them, you can predict all your scripts without much effort, "explains Power when it comes to the method of these vendors.
The problem is that in many cases this group directs its attention to people suffering from serious illnesses without a defined drug in traditional medicine or states that are misunderstood as a disease in order to "solve" such as autism.
According to neuroscientist Nury Montserrat Palou, who specializes in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), there is a specific reason that is crucial to understanding why this differentiation should be made.
"The condition name comes from the fact that this is a feature of the subject and therefore there is no drug. The disease has a specific cause and, therefore, a way to fight it," he continues, explaining that it also differentiates autism from illnesses without medication but treatment like which are HIV or certain types of cancer.
However, parents of children with such a condition can be overwhelmed with this reality, making them vulnerable. "In this state of despair, parents are looking for a solution to something they want to see as a" disease, "and they will do a test without understanding that this (MMS) can, according to research, kill people," says neuropsychologist.
Groups promoting MMS are trying to demonstrate the effectiveness of their treatment through parental testimonies confirming that their children have autism and who have presented improvements after using MMS. One of the groups associated with Gregory Placeres is SCSINFO-AUTISM, a site used to share "testimonies" of "cured" people. This is vital for your marketing in social networks, even for using logos and slogan clothing in interviews, such as the one you've provided channel 13.
Such cases of Palou are questionable. "I've analyzed them with my team and we do not see any indicators beyond the hyperactivity syndrome," he says when he talks about the videos he's seen on social networks.
Asked whether these testimonies of the tactics of these groups, diagnosing autism for a person who did not have it to sell the product and use their testimony as proof of its operation, Palou responds "Of course." […] In the end, it's all a lie.
How to avoid buying and selling this product?
It's important to understand that people who use this & # 39; miracle drug & # 39; are not ignorant, or parents who do not want to care for their children. These are individuals who, as Palou explains, in a vulnerable position because of a situation that is difficult to accept.
Therefore, you should not attack or insult those people through social networks, as many have done on the Neruda Express website when they confirm that they will host Gregory J. Placeres's event or on their personal page.
"I can not imagine how to feel when I tell you that you have a serious illness or condition, or that you do not have much to live on. I can only imagine such despair. I can understand that someone in this problem falls into something like this "says Myles Power, considering the reasons why these movements still attract people.
Easily spreading fraudulent information over the Internet makes it more difficult to prevent these people from being exposed to promises of these "miraculous drugs", especially via websites such as YouTube. The social network has an automated video suppression system that promotes these drugs and conspiracy theories, as the Washington Post slogan, but is not perfect.
"I've suffered a lot because of the YouTube algorithm because my videos have the same insignia of those conspiracies, and they are generally suppressed. There is also the argument that people are deprived of freedom of expression, "explains Power when talking about the difficulties he has in getting the content of people who are in danger of falling into these" medicines. "
"Even these groups in their own name interpret that they are trying to silence, because they feel it is correct," warns of the practice of completely removing the videos of these groups.
Thanks to public pressure, YouTube has started experimenting with more direct ways to suppress this content. So far it has been promising the implementation of small panels with information that obfuscates these conspiracy theories and drugs, which began to be applied in March this year, as Engadget's digital media reported.
The best option, according to Power, for those who see themselves in a situation like this one, is to consult with professionals. "The best I can recommend is to talk to your doctor." They understand these questions, it's their job, and they will be able to answer all of your questions. "Do not ask guys in a chat because they will not know what they are talking about." Maybe these people are trying to convince they are worried about their health, but that is not the case. They only worry about what they have in their pockets, "he emphasizes.
Reporting on these groups and products is also a good way of avoiding their proclamation, as they are generally banned from social networks. Facebook, for example, does not allow the promotion of health products or unsafe additions, and YouTube takes quick action when the videos of this type are reported by users, while Power speaks when it comes to their experience.
It also involved funding for GoFundMe, which prohibited the use of the platform for other conspiracy theories, such as vaccine groups, according to The Independent.
Finally, you should proactively inform and warn people of the dangers of these substances. Government organizations such as the Public Health Institute (ISP) and the Ministry of Health have already started this process through official communications, press conferences and the use of protection funds to counteract the impact of these seminars.
In this connection, the pressure of grouping as Autism Chile he helped put this issue in public debate, revealing the dangers that these groups represent to people with such a state of affairs in our country. His official statement against the Gregory J. Pleasures seminar was reproduced more than 10,000 times, reaching a large number of people.
Excitement stories have been canceled by the organizers in the same way as in Spain, due to the pressure of government and human activism. However, this is only a temporary victory, as there are many other "miraculous drugs" on the internet.
Maintaining this social pressure is key to avoid spreading MMS and other add-ons of this kind in the country, as it has so far been the only option that has proven to be a consistent positive effect.
Patience and compassion need to be sought with those who seek these solutions and try to inform the public and the relevant authorities in order to take the necessary action. These people are not ignorant: they are the victims who need help.