Respectively titled Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, Fight Autism and Win, and The Miracle Mineral Supplement of the 21st Century, the three books have hundreds of reviews.
But while their removal is a win, the truth is, Amazon still sells dozens of these pseudoscientific books – with titles that would raise the brow of any doctor. More often than not, these products are medically inaccurate, claiming to treat or even cure autism with sex, yoga, camel milk, electroconvulsive therapy and veganism, according to Wired.
An article in the magazine this week revealed that Amazon’s stores are rife with these texts, some of which advise parents to treat their child’s autism by drinking, bathing in, and making enemas out of a toxic, bleach-like substance called chlorine dioxide.
“Other pseudoscientific books available on the website instruct parents to force their children to undergo chelation – a treatment intended for arsenic and lead poisoning that caused the death of an autistic boy in 2005,” journalist Matt Reynolds details.
According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), there is no cure or treatment for autism spectrum disorder. Discouraged by the lack of options, the agency says that as many as one third of parents have tried alternative treatments for their child, and up to 10 percent may be using potentially dangerous tactics.
Concerned by the impact of this misinformation, California representative Adam Schiff is speaking out. Earlier this month, in light of the nationwide measles outbreak and Wired‘s recent and damning article, Schiff called on Amazon – the “largest online marketplace in the world” – to stop “surfacing and recommending products and content that discourage parents from vaccinating their children.”
“I am concerned by the report that Amazon accepts paid advertising that contains deliberate misinformation about vaccines; promoting these advertisements as suggested content ahead of intended search results,” Schiff wrote.
“Every online platform, including Amazon, must act responsibly and ensure that they do not contribute to this growing public health catastrophe.”
While Amazon quietly took down the three listings, the vice president of public policy responded to Schiff by saying that the company’s guidelines “do not specifically address content about vaccines.”
He added that Amazon provided customers “with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books and videos that some customers may find objectionable.”
With misinformation like this continuing to spread, outbreaks and unnecessary deaths will no doubt continue to occur. This year, the World Health Organisation listed anti-vaccination beliefs as one of the most dire threats to global health in 2019.
If the biggest companies in the world do not take a stand against these harmful lies, then who will?