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Current Affairs Science

Caveat Emptor

It should be no surprise to anyone that there are unscrupulous people in the world. There are people who will, given a chance, sell you counterfeit, broken, or ineffective goods, and leave you high and dry when you realise that there is a problem. At best, you’re left with a defective piece of equipment and a lighter wallet. At worst, you’re left with something potentially dangerous and/or life threatening, and that is exactly what this post deals with.

MMS, or Miracle Mineral Solution, was “discovered” by Jim Humble, who allegedly exponentially improved the effectiveness of a South American health drink by adding a few drops of vinegar to it. With this miracle drink, he single-handedly treated over 2000 patients, and trained others to use the formula to treat a range of diseases – everything from malaria to HIV. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Here’s Humble himself, talking about his life and the creation of MMS as he’s interviewed by Project Camelot (a group who are deserving of a blog post all of their own):

Jim Humble interviewed by Project Camelot

In this interview, you’ll hear him state that “MMS will cure cancer”, that he cured malaria in 4 hours, and that the “American drug companies” called the government of the country he was in and stopped him curing malaria under threat of cessation of drug provision to local hospitals. He also states that he further developed the formula of “stabilised oxygen” so that its treatment success rate was 100%. He goes on to explain that he optimised the delivery mechanism, so that you can add lemon juice or vinegar to this MMS powder, and produce chlorine dioxide, which he maintains will cure cancer, malaria, AIDS, and more with a 100% success rate.

This, of course, is complete and utter rubbish of the highest order. MMS falls into the same category as many purported miracle cures, in that it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. Where MMS differs from many of these other cures, however, is that, not only is it ineffective, but it is actually dangerous, and continued use can lead to life-threatening conditions such as vomiting, severe diarrhoea, and symptoms of dehydration. (FDA warning about MMS, stating the proven health risks associated with ingesting chlorine dioxide as prescribed by the MMS treatment)

Chlorine dioxide is typically used as an industrial bleach to bleach things such as wood pulp, and also in large scale water purification. When used for water purification, the final levels in drinking water may be no higher than 0.8mg/L (milligrams per litre),  in order to prevent any harmful affects associated with ingesting the chemical. It can cause skin irritation, lung irritation, digestive tract irritation, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, etc. The MSDS (material safety data sheet) for chlorine dioxide states that if it is ingested, medical attention should be sought immediately. This is in sharp contrast to the treatment plan prescribed by Humble, which states that you should increase the amount of MMS you take each day until you induce nausea, slightly reduce the intake until the nausea passes, and then continue to raise the dose again to try to “push past” the nausea. This is patently unsafe, and potentially very dangerous, and yet Humble continues to assert that his MMS will cure cancer, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, etc.

Jim Humble is not a qualified physician. He is not a biologist, or a chemist. He has no understanding of the interaction of these chemicals within the human body, and no knowledge pertaining to curing any of these diseases. He is, quite simply, a quack. It is of the utmost importance that everyone knows this, so that he will not be able to continue to sell this dangerous chemical as a panacea.

In the above interview, he states that the MMS doesn’t have the power to damage healthy cells, and only attacks the pathogens which cause the problem. This is a statement that has no basis in fact.

He states that all pathogens which cause diseases, and which have a bad effect on the body, are anaerobic bacteria. In conjunction with this, he also states that aerobic bacteria are much stronger than these disease causing, weak anaerobic bacteria. This is another statement that has no basis in fact. While anaerobic bacteria cause disease, aerobic bacteria are just as effective at causing disease (as evidenced by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a highly aerobic bacteria, which causes most cases of tuberculosis).

He states that the way MMS kills the anaerobic bacteria is by “blowing a hole in the skin” and that there is no possibility of any pathogen developing a resistance to MMS. He also tells us that the reason MMS is more effective than antibiotics because they must be developed specifically to enter the bacterium and cause the nucleus (the “heart” of the cell) to stop working. These statements are incorrect. While it is certainly true that some antibiotics may attack the nucleus of the cell to kill bacteria, there are many different kinds of antibiotics, including those which attack the cell wall or membrane, those which stop protein synthesis, etc. Bacteria are constantly changing to develop resistances to the various antibacterial chemicals that we use in daily life. To say that bacteria will never develop a resistance to the presence of MMS in the body, even if MMS did what it was supposed to do, it absolutely untrue, and simply serves to further prove that Humble has not got even a basic grasp of biology, biochemistry, chemistry, or any relevant scientific or medical information.

Later in the interview, he tells us that by mixing the MMS with DMSO (a compound which readily penetrates the skin), and rubbing it on the skin, it absorbs into the skin, and penetrates cancer cells (“soaks into the cancer cells themselves”), killing the “little bug” inside the cell which causes it to be cancerous, and leaving a healthy cell which doesn’t need to be killed after the removal of this “little bug”. This is, of course, patently false. There is no proof that cancer is caused by an anaerobic “little bug” which can be killed, leaving only healthy cells. This simply serves to demonstrate how limited his understanding of cancer truly is.

To round up the interview, he tells us that MMS cures malaria, AIDS, cancer, influenza, the common cold, “all types of diseases of the mouth”, abscessed teeth, etc. While it’s true that brushing or rinsing with a mild bleach (such as highly diluted hydrogen peroxide) will probably kill anything untoward in your mouth, brushing with the concentrations of bleach in MMS is more likely to cause blisters and mucous membrane irritation. As for the rest of that list, there is absolutely no proof that MMS is effective in curing any of them.

Essentially, Jim Humble sings the same familiar song as many alternative health practitioners – his miracle cure is being kept down by the government and the “big pharma” companies, it has 100% cure rates, and it is effective on virtually everything. And, just like those other health practitioners, what he is selling is little more than lies, made even worse by the fact that the chemical he is selling is also dangerous.

In short, MMS is not a miracle cure. Rather, it is a dangerous chemical that should not be ingested or used in the manner that Jim Humble is prescribing. It is a product that should not be purchased, and should not be used. If you have any, please dispose of it. If your friends or family have any, dispose of it for them, and tell them why.

MMS is dangerous, and I hereby publicly defame Jim Humble, and his criminally irresponsible promotion of MMS. I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same.

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Current Affairs

Resignations rejected?

Some time ago, shortly after the publication of Murphy report, I wrote a blog encouraging people to read both the Murphy and Ryan reports, which dealt with institutional child abuse in Ireland. I did so not because they were particularly easy to read (far from it, in fact, since both reports are long, and describe in detail some truly awful abuse of children), but because I thought it was important that the information held in the reports wasn’t ignored. The children who were abused were systematically failed by every person or group who should have been able to help them, from the teachers, to the Gardaí, and even the state – as such, now that the truth has finally been printed, it’s important that it not be swept under the rug, or ignored any more.

With all of the above in mind, I was more than a little surprised to hear the news that Pope Benedict XVI has refused the resignations of two bishops who were a part of the Dublin Archdiocese during the period investigated in the reports, namely Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field. Both were undeniably involved in the activities discussed in the Murphy report (dealing with complaints, covering up abuses, etc.), as shown by the commission investigating the abuses. Both were fully aware of what they were doing, and the repercussions of it – indeed, Bishop Field was a qualified barrister, and therefore aware of both church and state law regarding abuse. They were subject to considerable public pressure, and eventually compelled to resign in December 2009, in the wake of the publication of the Murphy report, when the extent of the cover-up came to light.

As a result of the decision by Pope Benedict, both men will remain as auxiliary bishops with the Dublin Archdiocese, and will be assigned “revised responsibilities within the diocese”. The fact that they remain auxiliary bishops means that they will be available to administer confirmation in any part of the diocese in the coming year. The notion that men who were involved in the systematic cover up of abuses over a period of decades will be available to help children confirm their role as adults within the Catholic faith is more than a little disturbing – surely men such as these do not provide a good example of what is to be expected of an adult of great faith?

The message sent by this refusal of resignation, and confirmation of their continuing positions within the diocese, is a troubling one. It reaffirms the idea that they did nothing wrong in covering up the abuse, and that, because of an apology that was all but forced out of them, they are fit to continue in their roles. It demonstrates that the Holy See is largely unwilling to take any sort of definitive action against men who are proven to have acted wrongly, and it also begs the question of what exactly one must do to have a resignation accepted?

Now is a time for the members of the church in Ireland, and the Catholic church as a whole, to accept the wrongs that were done, and apologise unreservedly for them. Now is a time where the people who perpetrated the abuses should be removed from their positions, and called to answer for their actions. And now is a time for the Pope to genuinely acknowledge the horrible abuses that children were subjected to, and send a clear message that it will never be allowed to happen again.

Unfortunately, it seems that “now” is not considerably different from 30 years ago, where priests were virtually untouchable in the eyes of the public and the law, where children were branded liars for having the courage to speak out, and where abuse was swept under the carpet and never acknowledged or spoken of.

Caveat-filled apologies and promises of action that never come to bear seem to be all that the Pope and the Church have to offer, and sadly, that’s simply not enough.