Dozens of books offering dangerous “cures” for autism are available for sale on Amazon and Waterstones.
Books promoting “Miracle Mineral Solution” (MMS), a chlorine-based bleach; GcMAF, a banned stem cell product made from human blood; and “chelation”, a chemical process intended to strip heavy metals from the bloodstream that has been linked to at least three deaths, are all available from the booksellers.
Other books promoting “cures” or treatments for other diseases, including HIV/AIDS and cancer, are also available. In 2015, a young woman died of cancer that she was trying to treat using a diet from a book sold on both Amazon and Waterstones.
The Master Mineral Solution of the Third Millennium, by Jim Humble, claims MMS “is the greatest solution to mankind’s diseases and ills now known”. Humble claims to have invented the substance, and sells it through his website.
MMS is chlorine dioxide. The UK’s largest autism charity, the National Autism Society (NAS), describes MMS as a “bleach banned for human consumption”. At least one death has been linked to it. In 2010, the Food Standards Agency called it an “industrial-strength bleach” and warned against its use.
The US Food and Drug Administration also warned that MMS was a "bleach" in 2010, and led an investigation that led to an MMS vendor being jailed in 2015. Responding to the FDA's warning in 2010, Humble said that “in small amounts it’s not poisonous at all", and added: “We’ve had thousands of reports of people who’ve been cured … I treated 800 cases of HIV just recently in Africa, every one of them came out good."
There are dozens of other books promoting MMS on Amazon, including The MMS Handbook by Antje Oswald and Seiriol Dafydd, which claims it “can cure illnesses deemed incurable, can free Africa and Asia from tropical illnesses, can revolutionise our health system, because we will no longer need expensive antibiotics, no chemotherapy, no vaccinations, and there will be no need to fear infections”. The book is also available on the Waterstones website.
Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, by Kerri Rivera, promotes “CD” – short for chlorine dioxide, or MMS – and GcMAF as "cures" for autism. The UK medicines regulator, the MHRA, has warned that GcMAF is “a significant risk to people’s health”. The NAS warns the public to “not use [GcMAF] in any circumstances”, calling it “dangerous” and “harmful”.
New Autism Treatments: A Summary Report on Current Breakthroughs, by Troy Sorkin, suggests that GcMAF is a “very promising treatment method” for autism.
Toxic Heavy Metal Detox for ADHD, Autism and Learning Disabilities: Holistic Approach to Self-Explore the cause of Neurological Conditions, by Kaashvi, and Autism Symptoms and Causes of Autism: Autism and Vaccinations, by Denis Van Loan, both recommend “chelation” as a treatment for autism.
The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) explicitly warns that chelation should not be used to treat autism in either children or adults. At least three deaths, including that of a 5-year-old autistic boy, have been linked with chelation, according to the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC). The search “chelation for autism” brings up several more books, including Mercury Poisoning: The Undiagnosed Epidemic and Mercury Poisoning: It's Not in Our Heads Anymore.
Both Waterstones and Amazon also sell The Gerson Therapy, which promotes the “powerful healing effects of organic fruits and vegetables” in diseases including cancer, hepatitis, heart disease, and emphysema, saying that “juicing” can not only “reverse the effects of many degenerative illnesses – it can save lives”. “The Gerson Therapy shows you how to beat cancer by changing your body chemistry,” says the promotional material on the Waterstones website.
Cancer Research UK says: "Available scientific evidence does not support any claims that Gerson therapy can treat cancer. In fact, in certain situations Gerson therapy could be very harmful to health. The diet should not be used instead of conventional cancer treatment."
Jessica Ainscough, a 30-year-old sarcoma sufferer, died in 2015 after shunning conventional treatment in favour of the Gerson therapy. The Gerson Institute said in response: "Some critics have taken her death as proof that alternative or holistic therapies don’t work, but we disagree… Cancer is a devastating and deadly disease, and the Gerson Therapy cannot save everyone."
Other books claiming to be able to treat cancer with grapes, kale, prayer, electrical “zappers”, the perfect natural laws of God, and “organically grown beet roots, carrots, celery roots, black radish and a medium-sized potato” are also on sale on Waterstones and Amazon, as well as a book titled The Cure for All HIV & AIDS, which claims that AIDS is caused by parasitic worms and can be cured by an electrical “zapper” sold by the late author’s website.
Amazon UK declined to comment when approached by BuzzFeed News. Waterstones said in a statement: "Our website lists all the books notified to Nielsen, the standard industry database, by publishers and distributors in the UK. We don’t censor this listing, nor do we endorse the views, opinion or alleged facts conveyed in every title listed on our website."