- Amazon removes more than a dozen books making unscientific claims that homemade bleach can cure autism and other conditions.
- The company has faced growing scrutiny for continuing to sell the books, which push parents to use bleach to “cure” their children of autism. The Food and Drug Administration has warned the substance can cause permanent harm.
- The removal comes as social media sites also grapple with how to remove inaccurate content on autism “cures” and other controversial topics.
Amazon has removed more than a dozen books that unscientifically claim a homemade bleach, chlorine dioxide, can cure conditions ranging from malaria to childhood autism. The books include directions for making and ingesting the concoction, which doctors and federal regulators have warned is dangerous.
Amazon confirmed Tuesday that it was no longer selling the books on the topic of chlorine dioxide — a hazardous mix of sodium chlorite and an acid activator such as citric acid, also marketed as Miracle Mineral Solution, or MMS. The Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers that the so-called cure amounts to industrial bleach, has no possible health benefits and can cause permanent harm.
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The shelved titles include “MMS Health Recovery Guidebook” and “Introducing MMS,” both written by Jim Humble, a former Scientologist and the self-appointed archbishop of a religion devoted to chlorine dioxide. For years, he has claimed the bleach could cure AIDS, cancer, diabetes and almost every other disease. NBC News was unable to reach Humble for comment.
Anti-vaccination advocate Andreas Kalcker’s “Forbidden Health,” which promotes chlorine dioxide as an autism cure, was also removed. Kalcker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move comes a week after an NBC News report on parents who use chlorine dioxide in a misinformed effort to reverse their children’s autism, a developmental disorder with no known cure.
In March, after a critical report in Wired, Amazon banned two autism “cure” books, which included Kerri Rivera’s “Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism,” a guide in which she introduced Humble’s bleach recipe to parents of autistic children.
Amazon, Facebook and YouTube have scrambled in recent months to answer calls from lawmakers and public health advocates to curtail the spread of anti-vaccination and other health misinformation on their sites. In April, Facebook deleted several chlorine dioxide pages and groups with thousands of members, citing a policy against content that promotes illegal drugs. That same month, YouTube deleted scores of videos and channels with millions of views dedicated to chlorine dioxide, explaining that they violated standards against “content intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm.”
A spokesman for Amazon declined to provide details on Tuesday’s takedown, or whether it may be part of a larger effort to clean up health misinformation on its marketplace.