Amazon is planning to remove from the online marketplace all “autism cure” titles which unscientifically claim kids could be treated with pseudoscientific techniques such as bathing and ingesting with a possibly toxic kind of bleach or taking drugs meant to cure lead and arsenic poisoning.
The company confirmed that the books “Fight and Win Autism” and “Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism” aren’t available anymore, but refused to answer any questions about the exact reasons or whether they are making a large cleanup effort.
The action by the retail giant follows a published report in Wired which criticized Amazon for providing medically misleading titles and dangerous methods to reverse autism spectrum disease. Over the past years, many news organizations have mentioned about the company’s practice of selling books which promote vaccine misinformation. The pressure, however, has escalated in recent weeks.
Many online platforms are dealing with increased scrutiny from public health officials and lawmakers over the misinformation on their sites. Facebook has recently announced that it will minimize vaccine misinformation on its platform and limit advertising which promotes “vaccine hoaxes.” Similarly, YouTube has banned advertisements on anti-vaccination videos, while Pinterest has blocked all search results concerning vaccine.
Autism is a form of developmental disorder which often shows up in young children. Thus, there is still no cure for this condition. Kids with autism spectrum disease display a wide variety of characteristics, from complete inability to perform well in work or school environments to trouble forming relationships or interacting with friends.
Before being removed, “Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism” was available at $28 with a rating of 3.6 stars and got more than 630 customer reviews. The title praised the healing capability of chlorine dioxide, which is a type of bleach. Kerri Rivera, who is the author of the book and currently living in Mexico, asserts 190 kids have been treated for autism with the use of a chemical which the FDA warned could result in severe vomiting, nausea, and fatal low blood pressure due to dehydration.
The other removed book, “Fight and Win Autism” suggests parents with chelation, which is an unproven method for treating autism involving medicating a kid with a drug for mercury poisoning. This cure comes from the assumption that autism can be caused by direct exposure to mercury in childhood vaccines. However, chelation therapy could trigger many severe side effects, including possibly fatal kidney damage. At the time of removal, the title was available at $25 with a rating of 4.8 stars and had 55 customer reviews.