Kerri Rivera is one of the strongest proponents of the dangerous quackery that is chlorine dioxide. This is an industrial bleach and the “treatment” involves forcing children to drink it and use it as an enema multiple times a day. On her website CD autism, she claims that her product has helped almost 200 children to “recover” from autism. In reality, the concentration of chlorine dioxide she recommends is around 3000 times higher than the maximum allowed in drinking water.
Those who promote the use of industrial bleach to “treat” autism or diseases like cancer or HIV are starting to feel the full force of the criminal justice system. Louis Daniel Smith has been convicted of “conspiracy to commit multiple crimes, three counts of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud or mislead and one count of fraudulently smuggling merchandise into the United State” and risks a maximum prison sentence of over 30 years.
Rivera has now agreed to sign an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the state of Illinois, which means that she agrees to stop promoting and selling chlorine dioxide bleach as a treatment for autism. This is because Rivera has no scientific support for her claims and her actions violate section 2 of the Consumer Fraud Act. This is good news, but unfortunately this only applies to the state of Illinois and so one can imagine a great number of ways in which Rivera can continue to spread her dangerous nonsense and harm more children.
What is an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance?
According to the Oregon Department of Justice:
Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC): An agreement reached between DOJ and one or more businesses or owners stipulating the conditions under which the business will conduct itself in the future. An AVC may require a business to pay consumer restitution and investigative costs to DOJ. Generally, AVCs are filed with a court. An AVC is not an admission of guilt or liability. DOJ has a right to go back to court if the business does not comply with the terms of the AVC.
In essence, it is an agreement between the Department of Justice of the state and a business owner about what the business will or will not do. If the business owner does not follow the agreement, he or she can be prosecuted.
What does Section 2 of the Consumer Fraud Act states?
The Consumer Fraud Act (“Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act”) is a law in Illinois designed to protect consumers from dishonest and deceptive business practices. Section 2 of this law states that:
Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including but not limited to the use or employment of any deception fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation or the concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact, with intent that others rely upon the concealment, suppression or omission of such material fact, or the use or employment of any practice described in Section 2 of the “Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act”, approved August 5, 1965, in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful whether any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby. In construing this section consideration shall be given to the interpretations of the Federal Trade Commission and the federal courts relating to Section 5 (a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
In other words, businesses are not allowed to deceive their customers. Promoting bleach for autism without any kind of scientific evidence whatsoever clearly constitutes a violation of this section.
What does the court document say about what Rivera does?
The attorney general of Illinois states that Rivera has been promoting chlorine dioxide bleach as a treatment of autism, charges consultation fees, make evidence-free health claims for chlorine dioxide, and that this constitutes a violation of the above section.
What are the consequences for Rivera?
By signing the agreement, Rivera has promised to:
(1) comply with Section 2 of the Consumer Fraud Act.
(2) no longer sell chlorine dioxide bleach for treating autism in Illinois.
(3) no longer hold seminars or conferences about chlorine dioxide bleach for autism.
The strength of this agreement lies in the fact that it also applies to “similar substances” to avoid Rivera selling a chemical precursor or reactant that can be converted to chlorine dioxide. It also applies not only to Rivera, but “its officers, agents, employees, and all persons or entities associated, affiliated or connected” with her or “any successor corporation or business entity”.
By signing the agreement, Rivera has acknowledged that she violates the Consumer Fraud Act. If Rivera violates this agreement, the document states that this will by itself be evidence of a violation of the Act in any later court cases against her.
The agreement is effective immediately.
Where can I read more about this?
NBC Chicago has two stories about Rivera: Chicago Woman Promotes Controversial “Miracle Treatment” (webcite) and State Takes Action Against “Miracle Treatment” For Children (webcite).
Bonus round: Bleach apologists in the NBC comment section
What is the reaction by supporters of Kerri Rivera chlorine dioxide bleach? They deny the fact that Kerri promotes quackery:
They deny that chlorine dioxide is a kind of bleach. They claim that the concentrations used are safe. They even go so far as to blame mothers of children with autism who do not use bleach:
Yes, the commenter actually claims that the mother who refuses to give chlorine dioxide bleach to her child is “a horrible mother” and that if she had done it, the child “could be verbal by now”. What a disgustingly horrible and factually false thing to claim.