Monday, May 16, 2016
The Toxic Gas Theory for SIDS
Like most people, you are probably wondering why in the world you should trust this "theory" and what you are reading. After all, TONS of other websites by notorious doctors and even SIDS organizations ignore this theory! Let me assure you that the toxic gas theory is not just a theory anymore; it is pretty well proven to be the cause of crib death. During the "BabeSafe Campaign" not ONE baby who slept on a wrapped mattress died in his/her crib. Do not take this information lightly. The BabeSafe Campaign has been under way since 1995. That's right: since 1995 not ONE baby has died from "SIDS" on a wrapped mattress. It is estimated that at least 235,000 babies have slept on wrapped mattresses. With a moderate SIDS rate of 1/1000 babies, statistically 235 babies should have died!
Statistical proof that mattress-wrapping prevents crib death (as calculated by statisticians at the University of Munich): p = less than 1.9 x 10^-22. In mathematical terms, this is more than one billion times the level of proof which is usually regarded as establishing a medical proposition.
(Giftige Gase im Kinderbett (Toxic Gases in Infants' Beds), Zeitschrift fuer Umweltmedizin 2002;44:18-20.)
This explanation of the toxic gas theory is from Lendon H. Smith, MD, with Joseph G. Hattersley, MA., authors of The Infant Survival Guide: Protecting Your Baby from the Dangers of Crib Death, Vaccines and Other Environmental Hazards
Before World War II, unexplained infant deaths were unusual. But after 1950, the governments of nearly all the rich industrialized countries required treatment of baby and child mattresses with flame retardant chemicals. Phosphorus and antimony were most commonly used; arsenic was sometimes added later as a preservative.
Sadly, this well-intentioned measure was counterproductive in two ways.
(1) American SIDS deaths ballooned 400-fold; the toll has since declined.
(2) Among knowledgeable observers, it is well known that the number of baby deaths in residential blazes multiplied. Statistical evidence, unfortunately, is not available.
The mechanism of death is identical in both types of tragedy: the generation of extremely poisonous gases from the chemicals that had been added -- in all innocence. First, with regard to SIDS. Common, ordinarily harmless household fungi such as Scopulariopsis brevicaulis and certain microorganisms consume the phosphorus, arsenic, antimony, added as fire retardants and plastic softeners.
In consuming the chemicals, the fungi emit the heavier-than-air neurotoxic gases based on phosphine (PH3), arsine (AsH3) and stibine (SbH3). These gases are about one thousand times more poisonous than carbon monoxide, which can kill a person in a closed garage with a running engine. They are about as toxic as Sarin, used in the 1980s Iran-Iraq war and in a Tokyo terrorist subway poisoning in 1995.
In probably the worst environmental disaster of the 20th century, these toxic gases have killed about one million victims of SIDS worldwide. Gas generation starts when a mattress, containing both the chemicals and the fungi, is warmed to body temperature in contact with the baby. Perspiration, dribble, urine, vomit, body heat and -- as we shall see, critically important -- high (alkaline) pH enable the fungi to grow and generate gas rapidly.
If a mattress contains any antimony, for example, there is invariably more than enough, when converted to stibine, to kill a baby. Breathed for an extended time even in minute quantity, these nearly odorless gases can interrupt the choline/acetylcholine transfer of nervous impulses from the brain to the heart and lungs. That shuts down the central nervous system; heart function and breathing stop.
Most of these gases (phosphine is an exception, details below) remain in a thin layer on the baby’s crib and diffuse away. But if enough gas accumulates to a fatal dose, the parents know nothing of it until their terrible discovery, typically the next morning. The attendant psychiatric morbidity from needless guilt reactions is enormous. Every parent of a small baby or parent-to-be is wondering, "Will my child become a statistic? Will he/she have to die because of something I did or did not do?" Older children are less at risk because the gases cause them to develop a headache and call for help. For physiological reasons, adults are not put at risk by such gas generation.
After decades of research and practical proof (NO crib deaths on BabeSafe mattresses or wrapped mattresses) we can confidently refer to the toxic gas "theory" as the toxic gas "explanation" for crib death. The proof is overwhelming that wrapping a baby's mattress is the #1 crib death prevention technique that all parents must practice. The statistical proof can no longer be ignored!