Two mothers infiltrate online groups where members claim that children with autism can be cured & # 39; by taking toxic chemicals.
Melissa Eaton, from Salisbury, North Carolina, and Amanda Seigler, from Lake Worth, Florida, who each have a child with autism, encountered different groups – especially on Facebook – who claimed that chlorine dioxide, an industrial-strength bleach, could cause the disorder to treat .
To participate in the groups, Eaton and Seigler have created false profiles that act as parents of children with autism and are looking for answers or treatments.
They then took screenshots of the messages, in which parents suggested giving their children the chemicals they had told them NBC News.
Subsequently, Eaton, 39 and Seigler, 38 local child protection agencies reported abuse. So far, they claim to have reported at least 100 cases in the last three years.
Melissa Eaton, 39 (left), from Salisbury, North Carolina, and Amanda Seigler, 38 (right), from Lake Worth, Florida, infiltrate online groups for three years. The groups suggest that feeding children with chlorine dioxide, an industrial-strength bleach, can cure autism & # 39;
The & # 39; remedy & # 39; was popularized by the former Chicago real estate agent, Kerri Rivera (photo), who claims to have reversed autism symptoms in more than 500 children
Eaton and Seigler have told NBC News that some of the discoveries they found in these groups were horrible.
A Kansas mother wrote to the Facebook group after giving her child chlorine dioxide: & # 39; My son constantly makes a gasping sound. & # 39;
Another mother from Canada wrote that her toddler refused to drink the brew. & # 39; He will not open his mouth. He shouts. Rush hour. Flips over, & she wrote.
Eaton and Seigler said the groups were like a cult.
& # 39; It really weighs on you, but children are being abused, & # 39; Eaton told NBC News. & # 39; You see it. You have the choice to do something about it or to let it go. And I'm not the kind of person who can see something like that and just forget about it. & # 39;
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder in which patients have difficulty communicating and with behavior.
It includes a variety of conditions – including autism, Asperger's syndrome and the disintegrative disorder of children – and the symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Children are usually diagnosed at the age of two years after they show signs such as reduced eye contact, not responding to their name and performing repetitive movements.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 59 children has ASD.
Scientists do not know what causes ASD, but believe it is a combination of genes and environmental factors.
Eaton (photo) and Seigler, who each have autistic children, take screenshots of the messages and report local child protection agencies about child abuse
Anti-poison control centers have warned that the chemical may irritate the eyes and skin and may even cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs. Pictured: Seigler
The parents in several of these groups where Eaton and Seigler infiltrated believe that autism is caused by a large number of things, including viruses, bacteria, vaccines, parasites and even gluten.
The treatments they suggest are bizarre to say the least and include turpentine and the child's urine.
But perhaps the most popular is chlorine dioxide, a chemical compound used in bleaching wood pulp and disinfecting municipal drinking water.
Parents manage it orally or via enema & # 39; s.
The idea that chlorine dioxide is promoted as a medicine was first popularized by Jim Humble, an ex-Scientologist.
However, it was popularized by the former real estate agent in Chicago, Kerri Rivera, who wrote about it in her book & # 39; Healing the Symptoms 2013 & # 39 ;, known as Autism.
Rivera, who has no medical degree, said she treated her own autistic son with chlorine dioxide and promoted it through social media.
According to NBC News, she claims to have cured more than 500 children from autism.
Rivera & # 39; s book has been banned by Amazon, her email account has been deleted by Yahoo and several of her YouTube video & # 39; s have been deleted
In a statement to the outlet, she wrote: & # 39; This is a medical problem. I have a degree in homeopathy and I work with MD & # 39; s and PhD scientists. & # 39;
However, inhaling chlorine dioxide can irritate the eyes, skin, and nose, according to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.
Exposure to higher amounts can lead to an accumulation of fluid in the lungs, shortness of breath and jaundice or yellowing of the skin.
In one case, a six-year-old boy had reportedly removed his gut and was equipped with a colostomy bag after receiving these enemas repeatedly, according to The daily mirror.
Over the past five years, more than 16,000 cases have been reported in the US, according to data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
About 2,500 were for children younger than 12, although it is not possible to determine how many – if any – are autistic.
NBC News reported that 50 of these cases were considered life-threatening and eight resulted in death.
In March, Amazon banned the book from Rivera and YouTube took several videos from her. Yahoo has deleted its e-mail account and Facebook has also closed a number of its pages
Rivera told NBC News in an email that Amazon is forbidding her book to make the public aware of her message and that the tech giant & # 39; is responding to media-generated hysteria & # 39 ;.
However, Rivera has since created new Facebook pages, seen by DailyMail.com prior to publication. She did not respond to a request for comment.
Eaton and Seigler say they are still following her on various social media platforms in search of new pages and groups.
& # 39; Her profile must go and they must prohibit her IP address & # 39 ;, Eaton told NBC News.
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) health (t) florida