Monday, May 16, 2016
Mattress wrapping is based on the toxic gas theory. The theory states that toxic nerve gases permeate from all used mattresses: crib, bassinet, adult mattresses and even sofa cushions. The gases are created when fungus grows inside the mattress (or foam) and eats certain elements in the mattress, including phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony. Babies, especially those sleeping on their stomachs, breathe in the toxic nerve gases, which results in crib death, or SIDS.
Mattress wrapping, which is essentially wrapping the mattress in a polyethylene cover, prevents the gases from getting into the baby's breathing space. The polyethylene sheeting does not allow the gases to permeate, thereby preventing inhalation and subsequently preventing crib death.
Continue reading this blog to learn how this theory has been scientifically proven and what you can do about it!
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
The Toxic Gas Theory in a Nutshell:
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.
The Toxic Gas "Theory"?
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!
Publication of the toxic gas theory:
- The toxic gas theory for cot death (SIDS, crib death) was published by British scientist Barry Richardson in 1994: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: a possible primary cause, Journal of the Forensic Science Society 1994;34(3):199-204
Publication of proof of the gas generation involved:
The fungal generation of extremely toxic nerve gases from compounds of phosphorus, arsenic and antimony has been demonstrated many times over the last century. Recent confirmations are:
The fungal generation of extremely toxic nerve gases from compounds of phosphorus, arsenic and antimony has been demonstrated many times over the last century. Recent confirmations are:
- Toxic gas generation from plastic mattresses and sudden infant death syndrome, Lancet 1995;346:1516-20
- Confirmation of the Biomethylation of Antimony Compounds, Applied Organometallic Chemistry 1997; Vol. 11, 471-483
Publication of proof of the presence of fungal growth in babies' mattresses:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: a possible primary cause, Journal of the Forensic Science Society 1994;34(3):199-204
- Final Report of the Expert Group to Investigate Cot Death Theories: Toxic Gas Hypothesis (Limerick Report), May 1998
Publication of proof of the presence of the elements phosphorus, arsenic and antimony in babies' bedding:
- Analyses of bedding reported by Jim Sprott in The Cot Death Cover-up? (Penguin Books, New Zealand 1996, Britain 1997).
Publication of proof of the generation of highly toxic gases from compounds of phosphorus, arsenic and antimony in babies' mattresses and other bedding:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: a possible primary cause, Journal of the Forensic Science Society 1994;34(3):199-204
- The evolution of phosphine from cot mattress materials, M G Fitzpatrick, Department of Chemistry, University of Auckland (Final Report, December 1997)
- Arsenic methylation by micro-organisms isolated from sheepskin bedding materials, Human & Experimental Toxicology (2003) 22:325-334
Publication of proof that the re-use of mattresses increases the risk of cot death (a corollary of the toxic gas theory):
- Case-control study of sudden infant death syndrome in Scotland, 1992-5, British Medical Journal 1997;314:1516-20
- Used infant mattresses and sudden infant death syndrome in Scotland: case-control study, British Medical Journal 2002;325:1007-1009
Proof that the risk of cot death rises from first to second babies in families; and from second to third babies; and from third to fourth and later babies; and that babies of solo parents are at higher risk again (a corollary of the fact that re-use of mattresses increases the risk of cot death):
- Analysis of official British cot death statistics (Source: Office of National Statistics, United Kingdom)
The finding of the rising risk of cot death from one sibling to the next refutes every proposition that cot death has a medical cause. The more times an unwrapped mattress is used from one baby to the next, the greater is the risk of cot death.
This accounts for the higher cot death rate among poorer families, who are more likely to sleep their babies on previously used mattresses.
If a mattress contains any of the elements phosphorus, arsenic or antimony, and if certain household fungi have become established in the mattress during prior use, any generation of toxic gas commences sooner and in greater volume.
Publication of proof that later babies in a family are more at risk of cot death than first babies (a corollary of the fact that re-use of mattresses increases the risk of cot death):
- Risk factors of sudden infant death in Chinese babies, American Journal of Epidemiology 1997;144:1070-73
Publication of proof that face-up sleeping reduces the risk of cot death:
- All studies which show that face-up sleeping reduces the risk of cot death (of which there are many) support the toxic gas theory. Face-up sleeping reduces the risk because the gases concerned are more dense than air; they diffuse away from a baby's mattress towards the floor, so a baby sleeping face-up is less likely to ingest them.
Publication of proof that cot death babies show physiological effects of gaseous poisoning:
- Decreased Kainate Receptor Binding in the Arcuate Nucleus of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 1997;56:1253-61
- Synaptic Neurochemistry of Human Striatum During Development: Changes in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Journal of Neurochemistry1993;60(6):2098-2105
Publication of proof that the cot death risk varies with mattress type:
- New Zealand Cot Death Study (1987-1990)
Publication of proof that the cot death risk in Britain is less on PVC-covered mattresses:
- CESDI study (Britain), reported in Lancet 1995;345:720
Any part of a baby's mattress which contains the chemicals phosphorus, arsenic and/or antimony is capable of the gas generation which causes cot death.
If, therefore, a mattress is covered with a gas-impermeable diaphragm which does not contain those chemicals, the risk of cot death is eliminated.
Accordingly, following removal of those chemicals from British plastic-covered mattresses from 1989 onwards, the risk of cot death in Britain is less on PVC-covered mattresses (which are very frequently used in Britain).
Thus the finding by the CESDI study that babies are less at risk on PVC-covered mattresses supports the toxic gas theory for cot death.
Book regarding the toxic gas theory for cot death
- Jim Sprott, The Cot Death Cover-up? (Penguin Books, New Zealand 1996, Britain 1997).
Publication of statistical results of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping campaign:
- Giftige Gase im Kinderbett (Toxic Gases in Infants' Beds), Zeitschrift fuer Umweltmedizin (Journal of Environmental Medicine) 2002; 44:18-20.
- Cot Death - Cause and Prevention: Experiences in New Zealand 1995-2004, Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 2004; 14(3):221-232
Results of analysis of baby bedding acquired in New Zealand
Compounds of the elements phosphorus, arsenic and antimony are very frequently present in bedding. In some instances they are added as part of the manufacturing process (e.g. for fire retardant or plasticising purposes). In other instances they occur naturally (e.g. in sheepskins, kapok and tree bark).
Action of household fungus on these compounds can produce extremely toxic nerve gases. These are, respectively, phosphines from compounds of phosphorus, arsines from compounds of arsenic, and stibines from compounds of antimony. These gases shut down the central nervous system, resulting in cessation of heart and breathing function, and thereby causing death.
A wide selection of items of baby bedding acquired in New Zealand was analyzed for the presence of phosphorus, arsenic and antimony by Rooney Laboratories Ltd, Basingstoke, England. (See our list of sources of phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony found in common household and baby items below.)
Analysis showed that all three elements were present, phosphorus being especially prevalent. Sheepskins were shown to contain all three elements.
|A||Waterproof wool mattress cover||+++||-||-|
|A||Bassinet mattress (polyester inner)||++||-||+++|
|A||Bassinet mattress (foam inner)||-||-||-|
|B||Imported PVC cot sheet||+++||-||-|
|C||PVC-lined cotton mattress protector||++||-||-|
|E||Sheepskin baby rug||+++++||+||++|
|G||Ti-tree bark bassinet mattress||+++||-||-|
|H||Innersprung cot mattress||++||-||-|
|I||Ventilated cot mattress||++||-||++++|
|K||Innersprung cot mattress||++++||-||++++|
|L||Imported innersprung mattress||+++||-||+|
|1||Sheepskin baby rug||+++++||+||+++|
|9||Reconstituted foam mattress||+++++||-||-|
|No.||Cot death baby bedding||phosphorus||arsenic||antimony|
|CD1||Pillow polyester inner||+||-||+++|
Sources of Phosphorus, Arsenic, and Antimony
- Compounds of one or more of these elements are present in virtually all crib mattresses (except in UK) as well as adult mattresses and sofas/couches
- The chemicals occur in various natural fibres
- Phosphorus compounds are frequently used as plasticisers in flexible polyvinyl chloride
- Antimony is present in virtually all commercial PVC
- Antimony is used in the polymerisation of PVC and polyester, and as an additive to fire retardants
- Arsenic is sometimes used in fungicide chemicals (eg OBPA) in mattresses, and is often present as an impurity in commercial antimony
- All three elements are usually present in sheepskins
Common Household Items with these Elements:
- Infant car seat cushions. Abandon the fairly new practice of carrying your baby around in his infant seat from stop to stop. The more often your baby is in it, sweating, urinating, spitting up, the more dangerous the seat becomes. Wash the padding frequently to prevent fungus from growing inside the padding which leads to toxic gases.
- Infant swing padding. Same as above. Wash frequently or don't use.
- Padded furniture such as a couch. Never sleep with baby on a couch/sofa.
- Pillows. Polyester or other synthetic filled pillows are horrible!
- Your bed. Just like baby mattresses, in the US, all beds are mandated to be fire retardant and also often contain polyester. Organic cotton mattresses are available with a doctor's prescription. Never sleep baby on your bed. Use a co-sleeper instead.
- Polyester fleece or poly filled comforters or quilts. Do not use any synthetic bedding for baby whatsoever.
Following is an overview of the 1998 UK Limerick Report regarding the toxic gas theory for crib death (the Richardson hypothesis). Contrary to publicity, the Report did not disprove the theory - in fact, it provides further confirmation of it.
At the end of 1994 the British Government faced huge potential legal claims by bereaved parents. In the 1980s the Government had required manufacturers to include a fire retardant in cot mattresses, and had approved antimony trioxide for the purpose. The result was the generation within crib mattresses of stibine gas, which caused thousands of cot deaths. If the Limerick Report had supported the toxic gas theory for cot death, the British Government would have been liable for millions of pounds in damages.
What did the Limerick Committee investigate?
They investigated whether certain toxic gases are generated from fire retardant chemicals contained in PVC-covered crib mattresses.
Was this a full investigation of the toxic gas theory for crib death?
No. It had serious limitations:
The Committee did not investigate any mattresses other than those covered with PVC. They did not investigate natural products used as bedding (despite the fact that many crib deaths occur on such materials, e.g. sheepskins). They focused on only one of the three relevant gases (stibine).
Is the Limerick Report relevant in New Zealand?
Largely, no. This is because PVC-covered mattresses are very rarely used in New Zealand. Sheepskins (which are frequently used as baby bedding in New Zealand) were specifically excluded from the study. New Zealand mattresses very rarely contain fire retardants. The toxic gases most likely to be generated from New Zealand baby bedding (phosphines and arsines) were not focused on in the study.
How then does the Report provide confirmation of the toxic gas theory?
It confirms (yet again) the gas generation which causes crib death: the Committee achieved generation of a form of stibine. Other researchers had already proved the generation of all three gases: phosphines from phosphorus, arsines from arsenic and stibines from antimony.
But the Report's conclusion states that the toxic gas theory is unsubstantiated. Why?
Although the Committee had replicated the toxic gas generation, they said such gas was not the cause of crib death. This conclusion was based on a large number of errors and irrelevancies. For example:
The Report stated that one particular fungus which can cause gas generation (S. brevicaulis) was not found on any mattresses on which babies had died of cot death. Irrelevant. The Committee found S. brevicaulis and many other micro-organisms on crib mattresses - and a number of these are capable of generating toxic gas if phosphorus, arsenic or antimony are present in a mattress. Whether babies had died on the mattresses tested by the Committee is immaterial.
Household fungi become established in nearly every mattress which is slept on, and in underbedding which is washed infrequently.
The Report stated that what Richardson had identified as a fungus was actually bacteria. Irrelevant. Bacteria as well as fungi can generate toxic gas from the chemicals concerned.
The Report stated that while toxic gas was produced under laboratory conditions, no gas could be produced in cot conditions. Irrelevant. Gas generation has already been achieved in crib conditions, and failure by the Limerick Committee to do so doesn't negate this fact.
Various researchers have found it difficult to achieve gas generation consistently using media with a neutral pH. But the pH of a cot mattress is often higher, owing to the conversion of urea to ammonia. Experiments carried out using high pH (say, 10) have achieved more consistent gas generation. In these tests fungus flourished and the amount of gas produced was greater than at neutral pH.
The Report stated that cot death babies did not show the typical physiological effects of phosphine, arsine or stibine poisoning, e.g. haemolysis and pulmonary oedema. Of course they didn't. Babies die so quickly from this type of poisoning that these effects don't have time to develop.
Haemolysis, for example, takes many hours to develop; so does pulmonary oedema. But this gaseous poisoning can kill a baby within minutes.
The toxicological data contained in the Report relates to adults and older children. None of it relates to babies - and it is well known that babies' blood and physiological responses differ materially from those of older children and adults.
The Report stated that crib death babies had the same amount of antimony in their body tissue as babies who had died of other causes. Wrong. Research carried out in 1994 showed that post mortem body tissue of crib death babies contained many times more antimony than tissue of babies who had died of other causes.
The Report stated that antimony present in the tissue of crib death babies could have come from many sources other than their mattresses. Wrong. The same 1994 research showed that the body tissue of babies who had died of causes other than crib death contained no detectable antimony (or in one case very little). If the Report were correct, there would have been similar amounts of antimony in the tissue of all the babies tested, whether they had died of crib death or of other causes.
The Report stated that the introduction of antimony and phosphorus into mattresses in Britain did not coincide with a rise in the cot death rate. Wrong. These chemicals were first introduced into crib mattresses in the early 1950s, and the British crib death rate increased steadily from that time onwards. (In fact the term "cot death" was coined in 1954 as a result of the marked increase in the number of such deaths.)
The highest crib death rate in Britain (2.3 deaths per 1000 live births in 1986-1988) coincided with the highest concentration of antimony in crib mattresses. The British Government had required a fire retardant to be incorporated in crib mattresses by 1988. Manufacturers were given four years' warning and during this period moved towards compliance with the new standard.
The Report stated that the steepest fall in cot deaths in Britain occurred when antimony was very prevalent in crib mattresses and coincided with the "Back to Sleep" campaign. Highly misleading. Certainly the British crib death rate fell while the amount of antimony in mattresses was high - but that was because from mid-1989 onwards parents took preventive measures against toxic gas generated in their babies' mattresses. Furthermore, manufacturers began to remove antimony from mattresses.
In June 1989 the toxic gas theory was publicized nationwide and the crib death rate immediately began to fall (see graph). It had fallen 38 % (to about 1.4 deaths per 1000 live births) by the time "Back to Sleep" was launched in December 1991 - two-and-a-half years later. The fall was steepest following the commencement of "Back to Sleep" because that campaign added to the success already being achieved by advice based on the toxic gas theory.
What about the claim in the Report that three babies have died of crib death on polythene-wrapped mattresses?
This claim is unsubstantiated. The types and thicknesses of the plastic are not known. Was it thick, clear polythene (safe) or thin or coloured polythene (unsafe)? Was there bedding containing phosphorus, arsenic or antimony on top of the plastic? Were sheepskins used? Or mattress protectors? These questions have not been answered, and without this information the claim is not valid.
In February 2000 Dr Peter Fleming, a co-author of the Limerick Report, stated that the claim that three babies had died of crib death on polythene-covered mattresses could not be substantiated.
Are there other findings which support the toxic gas theory?
Yes. For example:
Scottish research has proved that the crib death rate rises as mattresses are re-used from one baby to the next. This is because micro-organisms become better established in a mattress as it is used. When re-use commences, toxic gas is generated sooner and in greater volume. Statistics show that the crib death rate jumps from first babies to second babies; and jumps again from second babies to third babies; and rises still further for later babies. The reason is that parents frequently buy a new mattress for their first baby and then re-use it for subsequent babies. Research in the USA has reported that crib death babies show neurochemical deficits relating to heart function and breathing. This is accounted for by the fact that phosphines, arsines and stibines are all "nerve gases". They shut down the central nervous system, causing cessation of heart and breathing functions. (This is why crib death babies do not show any apparent symptoms.)
The conclusions of the Limerick Report should be disregarded. Other researchers have disproved them; and so has the practical experience of mattress-wrapping in New Zealand. Since late 1994 many tens of thousands of New Zealand parents have wrapped their babies' mattresses for cot death prevention, and since that time the New Zealand crib death rate has fallen markedly. The practical experience of mattress-wrapping proves the toxic gas theory for crib death. If mattress-wrapping did not prevent crib death, many deaths would have occurred by now on polythene-wrapped mattresses.
THERE HAS NOT BEEN ONE REPORTED CRIB DEATH ON A BabeSafe MATTRESS COVER OR BabeSafe MATTRESS.
Mattress-wrapping for SIDS prevention, which has been publicized in New Zealand since 1994, has been 100% successful. Approximately 1020 crib deaths occurred in New Zealand during the years 1995 to 2013 inclusive, but there has been no reported SIDS death among the very large number of babies (235,000) who have slept on mattresses wrapped to the Cot Life 2000 specifications.
After being static for three years, the NZ crib death rate immediately began to fall. From 1994 to 2011 the nationwide rate fell by 80%. The reduction in the NZ European ethnic rate over the same period was even greater: about 91%.
These major reductions in crib death cannot be attributed to the SIDS prevention advice publicized by the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Cot Death Association. There has been no material change in that advice since 1992.
Sales information relating to BabeSafe mattress covers shows that a very large number of New Zealand babies (and at least 235,000 total) have slept on wrapped mattresses, and also that mattress-wrapping has been enthusiastically adopted by NZ European ethnic parents. The Ministry of Health has confirmed that mattress-wrapping is more prevalent among this community than among other ethnic groups.
A considerable body of research has been reported which supports the toxic gas theory for crib death (on which mattress-wrapping is based). Contrary to media publicity, the 1998 UK Limerick Report did not disprove the toxic gas theory, a fact which has been confirmed in the New Zealand Medical Journal. In fact, the Limerick Committee's experiments proved the gas generation on which the toxic gas theory for crib death is based.
Parents, however, are more interested in the practical proof: no reported SIDS death on a correctly wrapped mattress.
- The "p" factor for the mattress-wrapping intervention was calculated by Dr. Hannes Kapuste, in collaboration with experts from the Statistics Department of the University of Munich; result: p = less than 1.9 x 10-22
- Medical researchers regard “p” less than 0.01 (10-2) as good proof of a scientific proposition; and "p" less than 0.001 (10-3) as virtually certain proof.
- The “p” factor for mattress-wrapping, 1.9 x 10-22 can be written as: 0.000,000,000,000,000,000,000,19
- Put another way, the statistical proof that mattress-wrapping prevents crib death is one billion billion times the level of proof which is generally regarded as constituting certain proof of a scientific proposition.
You will not find these facts on most SIDS organizations' websites, but these are the things you REALLY need to know about SIDS.
- SIDS is not a medical problem. According to the toxic gas theory, it is caused by gaseous poisoning.
- The gases concerned are phosphines, arsines and stibines, all extremely toxic nerve gases. They are produced in a baby's crib mattress (or any other bed where the baby sleeps) when fungus growing in the mattress consumes compounds of phosphorus, arsenic and antimony present in the mattress (and in certain other bedding).
- Babies can be protected from this gaseous poisoning when their mattresses are wrapped in a BabeSafe mattress cover. NO babies sleeping on wrapped mattresses have died of SIDS.
- Breastfeeding does not prevent SIDS. Some countries with high breastfeeding rates have high rates of SIDS, and countries with low breastfeeding rates have had low rates of SIDS.
- SIDS is not caused by parental smoking . While it can be considered a risk factor, if a baby sleeps on a wrapped mattress, whether or not the parents smoke is irrelevant to SIDS.
- Sleeping face-up is only a partial preventive against SIDS - many babies have died sleeping face up on unwrapped mattresses. The gases can still go through the baby's skin, and there is the additional risk of babies turning over in their sleep.
- The danger of SIDS increases as an unwrapped mattress is re-used from one baby to the next.
A little known fact is that 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. children in a family, and children of single parents are successively more likely to die of SIDS. Check out this graph:
CRIB DEATH RATES FOR FIRST AND LATER BABIES AND BABIES OF SOLO PARENTS BRITAIN, 1996-1999
CRIB DEATH RATES FOR FIRST AND LATER BABIES AND BABIES OF SOLO PARENTS BRITAIN, 2009-2011
The data in this graph repeats year after year, and is typical of data from other countries where crib death occurs. The graph destroys all propositions for the cause of crib death relating to babies themselves (genes, illness, vaccination, smoking, physiological deficiencies, etc). It forms part of the extensive proof that poisoning by extremely toxic nerve gases is the single cause of crib death. It fully explains and is completely compatible with, the toxic gas explanation for crib death.
If a mattress (or other bedding) contains any compounds of phosphorus, arsenic or antimony, and if certain household fungi grow in the mattress (or bedding), the gas/es which cause crib death can be generated. And if fungi have become established in the mattress during previous use by another baby, the generation of toxic gas commences sooner and in greater volume when the mattress is re-used.
This science accounts for the rising rate of crib death from one sibling to the next. It also accounts for the very high crib death rate among babies of solo parents, who – for economic reasons – are more likely to sleep their babies on previously used mattresses.
The cause of SIDS (crib death) was fully exposed in 1989, The Toxic Gas Explanation
Mattress-wrapping, a simple intervention based on this explanation, has proved to be effective in preventing crib death
The total success of this intervention, together with the concurrence of the explanation with all crib death epidemiology from various countries, provides conclusive evidence that there is only one cause of crib death
Crib death results from poisoning by toxic gases
The gases are generated by fungal activity on compounds of the elements phosphorus, arsenic and antimony (P, As & Sb) in the baby’s bedding, especially in crib mattresses (and also found in adult bedding as well as padding in swings, infant seats, etc.)
The gases can be ingested by the baby either by breathing or by diffusion through the skin
The danger rises rapidly as mattresses are re-used from one baby to the next
The effect of ingestion of the gases is to interrupt and then stop the baby’s breathing, and shortly afterwards cause heart function to cease
From the back cover:
Cot death is the number-one killer of New Zealand babies, but medical science doesn't seem to know why. By the end of this year  over 100 babies may have died, leaving grief-stricken parents and families to mourn their loss forever. Prevention of these tragic deaths seems to elude orthodox medical researchers. Although the face-up sleeping campaign has reduced the number of cot deaths, too many are still occurring. Jim Sprott believes he knows what causes cot death; he believes the public has a right to know, too. In Britain this theory is the subject of a government inquiry- in New Zealand it is largely ignored. Is there some sort of cover-up, and if so, why? In this provocative and important book, Jim Sprott, consulting chemist and forensic scientist, explains the theory and gives simple advice to prevent cot death.
Famous for the forensic research that led to the freeing of Arthur Allan Thomas, Jim Sprott has had a lifetime full of scientific and professional achievement. This book is the result of a campaign by three men: two scientists and a businessman. Jim Sprott tells the story of their research and campaign.
(Chapter One Below)
Inspiration in Britain
Summer 1988. In the leafy suburban precinct of Lainston Close near the ancient cathedral city of Winchester, a family wedding was being celebrated. The bride was the daughter of unassuming British consulting scientist Barry Richardson and his wife Janet. On the lawn was a large marquee where speeches were made, toasts were drunk and merriment prevailed.
The Richardsons had hired the marquee from Mitchell Marquees. Peter Mitchell, proprietor of the marquee company, is an ebullient entrepreneur living in Winchester, where he has various business interests. In his early days- doing a reverse Grand Tour- he visited New Zealand and for a while worked on the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Now in his sixties, he specialises in the manufacture and hiring out of marquees and other outdoor amenities. He's good at it. So good, in fact, that he has even supplied equipment for the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament and the Farnborough Air Display.
It has always seemed to me that Peter Mitchell was an unlikely person to stumble upon the cause of cot death, but that is what he did. And it all came about unexpectedly.
Soon after the wedding Barry and Peter, both members of the Rotary Club in Winchester, were sitting together at lunch. When Peter learned that Barry was a consulting scientist specialising in preventing the degradation of materials, he was immediately interested. He had a problem with his marquees and awnings. They were made of heavy PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, and deterioration was occurring: after a short period a fungal growth appeared, causing unsightly staining. Peter asked Barry to investigate the problem and tell him how to overcome it.
Barry's reply was that no investigation was needed: the staining was caused by a common fungus which became established in the plastic, consuming the plasticiser in the PVC as a food source.
(PVC is a rigid plastic, hard and brittle, and not widely used in this form. The familiar flexible sheeting is rendered pliable by the introduction of plasticisers, of which there are several types. The most common types used in ordinary PVC sheeting are called 'external plasticisers'. These are low volatility organic solvents which are mutually soluble in the PVC. As more of the plasticiser is blended with the original PVC, the sheeting becomes more tough and flexible).
Peter took Barry's answer back to his PVC supplier, who told him the problem could be overcome by increasing the amount of biocide in the PVC, thus killing the fungus. A biocide is a material which prevents the growth of micro-organisms. Biocides used in PVC are frequently based upon the toxic element arsenic and are added to plastics intended for use in the tropics. The actual compound which the PVC supplier was using was OBPA (oxybisphenoxyarsine).
The supplier's suggestion was vetoed by Barry, who explained: 'The biocide won't kill this fungus- instead, the fungus will consume the biocide as well as the plasticiser. Since the biocide contains arsenic, the fungus will generate a very poisonous gas which would be harmful to your staff working with the marquees.'
The PVC supplier listened politely to Barry's warning but didn't accept it.
Not knowing who to believe- Barry or his PVC supplier- Peter contacted the OBPA manufacturer in Austria, whose reply was even stronger: Barry was talking nonsense and OBPA was perfectly safe. And then came the crucial remark: 'It's even approved for use in babies' mattresses.'
Peter pondered on this reply and at about midnight that night woke suddenly with the thought: if Barry is right and the supplier is wrong, could this be the cause of cot death? As soon as it was dawn, he phoned Barry. 'Yes, it could be,' said Barry, 'and I'll even name the fungus for you: it's probably Scopulariopsis brevicaulis.'
On this note started the research programme which finally elucidated the answer to cot death, a problem which had confounded medical researchers worldwide, consumed millions of research dollars, and caused the deaths of so many infant children. The research destroyed the conventional wisdom that cot death has many causes, gave the answer to every known factor about cot death which epidemiologists had discovered, and also provided a cheap and immediate means of eliminating it.
Purchase the book to read further.
The danger of SIDS (crib death) can be virtually eliminated by ensuring that babies sleep on mattresses and underbedding known to be free from the elements phosphorus, arsenic and antimony. The BabeSafe range of mattresses (only available in New Zealand) complies with this requirement. All other types of crib mattress must be enclosed in a BabeSafe Safety Mattress Cover.
The BabeSafe mattress covers are made in various sizes to fit every type of baby mattress available on the market (except for the circular cribs, sorry). Some will need to be adjusted somewhat, but as long as you can fit your mattress inside the cover, it will work. BabeSafe mattress covers are made from polythene sheeting which is a certain thickness. This is important to note, because the thickness of the plastic is very important since the purpose of the cover is to keep the gases from coming through. The BabeSafe Mattress Cover was developed and is manufactured by Dr. TJ Sprott and follows his specifications for crib death prevention.
All mattresses need to be covered for crib death ("SIDS") prevention. A new mattress is no longer new as soon as your baby begins sleeping on it.
It is imperative to use the correct bedding on top of the mattress cover. Use a pure cotton (flannelette) underblanket and tuck this in securely. The underblanket may consist of cotton diapers sewn together or a 100% cotton bath towel. Do NOT use a "cotton mattress pad." No item which is padded/quilted/filled complies with the bedding specifications for use with a BabeSafe-wrapped mattress. Then make the bed using sheets and a pure cotton or pure woolen overblanket.
The "underblanket" confuses a lot of people, because this is not a standard crib bedding item. The underblanket essentially replaces the mattress pad that most people use. The purpose of the cotton underblanket is simply for baby's comfort. It provides a soft padding underneath the sheet so that the baby's sleep environment isn't "plasticky."
Do NOT use any of the following as baby bedding:
- Sheepskin or sheep fleece underlay
- Moisture-resistant cot mattress protector
- Any underblanket which is not made of pure cotton**
- Acrylic blanket
- Any blanket which contains polyester**
- Any bedding that is quilted, padded, or filled
- Sleeping bag
- Pillows or cushions
**Please note: Products which are quilted and labeled "100% cotton" may be filled with polyester filling. All of the quilting fabrics I have seen at Joann's were labeled cotton, but in fact filled with polyester. I do not know why this is allowed in the U.S., but it is very important that you know this when purchasing your baby's bedding.
BabeSafe mattresses and covers should be cleaned by wiping with pure soap and water. Do not use chemical bleaches or sterilants.
Information about Sheepskins
Many New Zealand sheepskins contain significant quantities of arsenic. Sheepskins have been shown by analysis to contain far more arsenic than is necessary to poison a baby by arsine gas generation.
Action of common household fungi on compounds of arsenic can lead to the generation of intensely poisonous nerve gases known as arsines. The fungal generation of arsines has been known for over a hundred years. This gas generation caused the deaths of thousands of children in Europe in the 1800s, until its cause was discovered by the Italian chemist, Gosio, in 1893.
At the Sixth SIDS International Conference in February 2000, scientist Dr W R Cullen reported proof of the generation of trimethylarsine (a form of arsine) from sheepskin intended for use as baby bedding.
The use of sheepskins as baby bedding should be discontinued.
Fallacy: To reduce the risk of SIDS, breastfeed your baby.
Breastfeeding does not reduce the risk of SIDS, as the following statistics demonstrate:
The breastfeeding rate in New Zealand has risen during recent decades and is very high by international standards (over 90% of newborns and 55% of babies aged six months). Yet up to 1995 the New Zealand SIDS rate was the highest in the world.
In the United States, only 60% of newborns and 21% of babies aged six months are breastfed. Yet in 1996 the US SIDS rate (0.75 deaths per 1000 live births) was less than half the New Zealand rate (1.8/1000).
The United Kingdom has a low breastfeeding rate (66% of newborns, falling to 21% of babies aged six months), yet the United Kingdom SIDS rate is low (in 1999 only 0.57/1000).
While breastfeeding is good practice for nutrition and various health reasons, it is not relevant to SIDS prevention.
Fact (but only a partial solution): To reduce the risk of SIDS, sleep your baby face up.
Face-up sleeping decreases the risk of SIDS on mattresses which are not wrapped with a BabeSafe mattress cover, but it is only a partial solution.
The reason why face-up sleeping reduces the SIDS risk is simple: the gases which cause SIDS (phosphines generated from phosphorus, arsines generated from arsenic, and stibines generated from antimony) are all more dense than air. They diffuse away from a baby's mattress towards the floor, so a baby sleeping face up is less likely to ingest them. However, the protection afforded by face-up sleeping is limited.
Face-up sleeping is not very effective in preventing SIDS in cribs which have enclosed sides, as these can cause gases to be trapped around a baby. It is not very effective against the danger of phosphine, as this gas is only slightly more dense than air. Any phosphine generated in a baby's mattress is likely to be present in the air which a baby breathes, even if the baby is sleeping face up.
Face-up sleeping does not eliminate the risk of SIDS. The risk is eliminated by separating the baby from the source of toxic gas using a gas-impermeable film which does not contain phosphorus, arsenic or antimony (and does not pose a risk of suffocation).
If a baby's mattress is correctly wrapped and the correct bedding used, sleeping position is irrelevant to SIDS prevention.
Fallacy: To reduce the risk of SIDS, don't smoke during pregnancy or around your baby.
Smoking does not cause SIDS, as recent history shows:
Smoking was very common in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s, yet SIDS was virtually non-existent. Smoking is prevalent in present day Russia, yet SIDS is rare in that region.
No cause-and-effect relationship between smoking and SIDS has ever been established. In fact, they are simply socio-economic parallels. Smoking is more common among poorer people - and so is SIDS. But it does not follow that smoking is therefore a SIDS risk factor.
It is indisputable that along with having a higher rate of smoking, poorer people are also more likely to re-use mattresses. And it is also indisputable that SIDS occurs much more frequently on re-used mattresses. A 1989 mattress collection facilitated by British coroners showed that of some 150 SIDS babies, about 95% had died on previously used mattresses. (Remember also, once your baby uses a new mattress, it becomes more used each day, increasing the risk. Buying a new mattress is not a good enough preventive.)
It is not smoking but the re-use of mattresses which causes the high SIDS rate among lower socio-economic families.
Fallacy: To reduce the risk of SIDS, don't co-sleep with your baby if you smoke or smoked during pregnancy. Sleep the baby in a bassinet alongside your bed.
The risk posed by co-sleeping does not come from smoking - it comes from the mattress. Adults' mattresses frequently contain the same chemicals and fungi as babies' mattresses and therefore can generate the same toxic gases. Thus all co-sleeping results in a SIDS risk if the parents' mattress is not correctly wrapped for SIDS prevention. Placing a baby to sleep in a separate bassinet, co-sleeper, or crib alongside the parents' bed does not protect a baby against SIDS unless the baby's mattress is wrapped in a BabeSafe mattress cover.
Misleading statement: Keep baby's face clear at all times and place baby with feet to the foot of the crib.
Keeping a baby's face clear may reduce the risk of SIDS on mattresses which are not wrapped for SIDS prevention, but the protection afforded is very limited.
Sleeping a baby with feet to the foot of the crib provides no protection against SIDS. Any area on an unwrapped mattress where a baby sleeps is a potential source of toxic gas, since that is the area which becomes warm and moist (promoting the fungal activity which can cause gas generation).
Misleading statement: Use a firm, clean fitting mattress, with no gap between the mattress and crib sides.
While this advice may reduce the risk of injury in cribs, it is irrelevant to SIDS prevention.
Any unwrapped mattress which contains the chemicals phosphorus, arsenic and/or antimony can pose a SIDS risk. The risk can arise regardless of whether such a mattress is firm or soft, regardless of whether it is clean or soiled, and regardless of whether or not it fits the sides of the crib closely.
Misleading statement: Tuck in bedding securely.
Tucking in bedding securely may reduce slightly the risk of injury in cribs, but it increases the risk of SIDS on unwrapped mattresses. This is because tight tucking in can lead to increased temperature in a baby's crib; and an increase in temperature of even a few degrees can cause the rate of gas generation to increase tenfold or more.
Blankets must not be tucked in so securely that a baby cannot release the bedding for ventilation.
Misleading statement: Don't put baby on a waterbed.
Certainly, waterbeds which are not wrapped for SIDS prevention can pose a crib death risk. This is for two reasons:
First, waterbeds are frequently made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a soft plastic which often contains phosphorus and antimony (which can generate phosphine and stibine gases).
Secondly, waterbeds are frequently kept heated, which can cause increased fungal growth and hence increased gas generation. However, if a waterbed is correctly wrapped for SIDS prevention, sleeping a baby on the bed poses no SIDS risk.
Misleading statement: Soft toys and bumpers are not recommended.
The presence of soft toys in a crib is irrelevant to SIDS prevention. There is risk when animals stuffed with poly-fill are placed in the crib. When babies play with these toys they become soiled and will generate the same toxic gases if they are not laundered frequently.
Furthermore, if a baby's mattress is correctly wrapped for SIDS prevention, bumper pads pose no SIDS risk. In fact, they are to be recommended, as they reduce the risk of injury. Bumper pads should not be placed around all sides of a crib, because they greatly impede ventilation. If bumper pads are used, they should be positioned across the head of the crib and part way down the sides.
Fact: Pillows, loose quilts and duvets are not recommended.
Pillows, loose quilts and duvets can pose a very slight risk of suffocation or asphyxiation.
These items also pose a SIDS risk. This is because they almost invariably incorporate a fill which contains phosphorus and antimony. They also tend to be washed less frequently than other items of bedding, resulting in a greater likelihood of fungal activity.
Thus pillows, loose quilts and duvets can introduce a SIDS risk on wrapped mattresses and can increase the SIDS risk on unwrapped mattresses. Pillows, loose quilts and duvets should not be present in a baby's crib.
Has the Cause of Crib Death (SIDS) Been Found?
Parents Denied Crucial Findings
By Jane SheppardSudden Infant Death Syndrome. These four words can incite a considerable amount of terror in a parent of an infant. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as crib or cot death, is the number one cause of death for infants from one month to one year of age. 90% of all SIDS deaths are in babies under six months old. Ongoing SIDS research occasionally leads to discoveries of risk factors associated with these deaths, but after almost 50 years, researchers say they still do not know how or why it happens. The prevailing official viewpoint on SIDS is that the cause is unknown (SIDS Alliance 2001).
It may seem inconceivable that over a million babies have died of this "syndrome", and after almost half a century and many millions of dollars spent, no one in this age of science and technology can tell us why. But what parents are virtually oblivious to (through no fault of their own) is that a highly convincing explanation for this tragedy has been found, along with a simple means of eliminating it. This explanation is backed by a significant amount of evidence, but has been and continues to be completely ignored by SIDS organizations, the medical community, and the government - for a variety of reasons, including politics, financial liability, and vested interests. Publication of these findings continues to be denied and suppressed. The result is that babies continue to be at risk from deaths that may easily be prevented.
Toxic Gases in MattressesDr. Jim Sprott, OBE, a New Zealand scientist and chemist, states with certainty that crib death is caused by toxic gases, which can be generated from a baby's mattress. Chemical compounds containing phosphorus, arsenic and antimony have been added to mattresses as fire retardants and for other purposes since the early 1950's. A fungus that commonly grows in bedding can interact with these chemicals to create poisonous gases (Richardson 1994). These heavier-than-air gases are concentrated in a thin layer on the baby's mattress or are diffused away and dissipated into the surrounding atmosphere. If a baby breathes or absorbs a lethal dose of the gases, the central nervous system shuts down, stopping breathing and then heart function. These gases can fatally poison a baby, without waking the sleeping baby and without any struggle by the baby. A normal autopsy would not reveal any sign that the baby was poisoned (Sprott 1996).
In spite of denial and opposition from orthodox SIDS organizations, no research has disproved this gaseous poisoning explanation for crib death. No valid criticism of this explanation has ever been provided. This logical finding explains every factor already known about crib death, and is backed by scientific research (Sprott 1996, 2000) and eight years of practical proof consisting of a crib death prevention campaign that continues in New Zealand (Sprott 2000).
The fundamental solution is urgent action to eliminate all sources of phosphorus, arsenic and antimony from all mattresses. But this is not happening now, and is not likely to happen anytime soon, so exposure to these gases must be prevented. The intervening solution is to prevent babies from being exposed to the gases by wrapping mattresses in a gas-impermeable cover made from high-grade polyethylene and ensuring that bedding used on top of a wrapped mattress does not contain any phosphorus, arsenic or antimony. Dr. Sprott specifies a fleecy, pure cotton (flannelette) underblanket, with only cotton or poly-cotton sheets and woolen or cotton blankets over the baby. No other bedding should be used in the baby's crib. In particular, do not use any synthetic sheets or blankets, nor a duvet, sleeping bag, or sheepskin (Sprott 1996).
A 100% successful crib death prevention campaign has been going on in New Zealand for the past eight years. During this time, there has not been a single SIDS death reported among the over 100,000 New Zealand babies who have slept on mattresses wrapped in a specially formulated polyethylene cover. The number of crib deaths in New Zealand that have occurred since mattress wrapping began in 1994 is about 520. The number of crib deaths that have occurred in New Zealand on a properly wrapped mattress is zero.
Prior to the commencement of mattress wrapping, New Zealand had the highest crib death rate in the world (2.1 deaths per 1000 live births). Following the adoption of mattress wrapping by many parents in New Zealand, the New Zealand crib death rate has fallen by 48% (NZHIS), and the Pakeha (non-Maori) crib death rate has fallen by an estimated 70% (King 2001). Pakeha parents have adopted mattress wrapping with enthusiasm. "These reductions cannot be attributed to orthodox cot death prevention advice," said Dr Sprott. "There has been no material change in that advice since 1992. The only significant change in cot death prevention advice, which has occurred since 1994, is the nationwide dissemination of my recommendations to wrap babies' mattresses and to stop using sheepskins as baby bedding."
Midwives and other healthcare professionals throughout New Zealand have been actively advising parents to wrap mattresses. The New Zealand Ministry of Health has stated that there have been no reported crib deaths or any other deaths among those babies who have slept on correctly wrapped mattresses. Dr. Sprott maintains, "No suffocation has ever been reported on the type and thickness of polyethylene which I specify".
Parents Are Denied FindingsSo why isn't this profound and critically important information making the headlines of major newspapers or all over the evening news? Why aren't crib death researchers and the government of the United States telling parents to wrap babies' mattresses? Why are the manufacturers still adding fire retardants and other chemicals to mattresses?
There are various reasons, but one possible reason is that mattress manufacturers are required to use fire retardants through government regulations. Admitting that these chemicals are causing deaths would mean admitting to major liability. Furthermore, crib death research has been a significant source of funding for medical researchers in the U.S. Crib death research funding has nearly stopped in New Zealand as more people become aware that mattress-wrapping is easy, cheap and 100% successful in preventing this tragedy. Unfortunately, the ongoing complex and expensive research that leads to the discovery of "risk factors" for a so-called "syndrome" has pushed aside the simple and inexpensive solution of mattress-wrapping; a solution that can do no harm.
The Cot Death Cover-Up? (Penguin books, NZ, 1996), by Dr. Jim Sprott, reveals the amazing story of denial on the part of crib death researchers and the medical community, and the failure of these entities to accept such a simple explanation. Dr. Sprott first suggested a toxic gas theory for crib death in 1986, and in 1989 Barry Richardson of Britain, also a consulting chemist acting independently, publicized outstanding research proving the finding. In response, the British government set up expert committees to investigate the findings. One committee published the Turner Report, which recommended the removal of the chemicals from baby mattresses and for babies to be tested for antimony. A second committee published the 1998 Limerick Report, which is frequently cited by SIDS organizations as finding no evidence to substantiate the claim that toxic gases cause crib death. Contrary to this publicity, the Limerick Report did not disprove the theory (Fitzpatrick 1998) - in fact, it provides further confirmation of it (Sprott 2000).
Researchers and organizations responsible for advising parents have relied on erroneous information from the Limerick Report, and have vigorously denied the toxic gas explanation for crib death. In the intervening period, many thousands of babies have died of crib death. But the New Zealand experience shows that those deaths were avoidable, easily and cheaply - and that raises another prospect of legal liability for babies' deaths.
The main orthodox crib death prevention recommendation is to put babies to sleep on their backs. We know that babies do still die when sleeping on their backs, although face-up sleeping does reduce the risk. The gases are denser than air and tend to settle in a thin layer directly on top of the mattress, so babies sleeping facedown are more likely to inhale a lethal dose of the gases. The gases are also absorbed through babies' skin, and this is one of the major reasons why face-up sleeping provides only partial protection against crib death (Sprott 1996).
However, no babies have died sleeping on a properly wrapped mattress. This is crucial information for parents, regardless of whether or not the toxic gas explanation is considered 100% scientifically proven. Eight babies continue to die every night in the United States from SIDS. Parents should be provided with the information so that they are able to decide for themselves whether they want to wait for the SIDS research organizations or the government to endorse mattress-wrapping or to "play it safe" as many parents have done in New Zealand. As Dr. Sprott points out and no one has denied, "All New Zealand crib deaths since mattress-wrapping began in late 1994 have occurred when parents (for whatever reason) have not wrapped their babies' mattresses. An inexpensive, gas-impermeable, non-toxic protective cover can surely do no harm."
Factors That May Increase the Risk of Death From Toxic GasesA baby's immature organs and other developing biological systems are particularly vulnerable to toxic contaminants (Mott 1997). All babies are susceptible to the toxic gases, but whether death, illness or just irritability occurs to a baby depends on certain other factors. As mentioned, facedown sleeping increases the risk of crib death. Other factors include:
The risk of death increases when mattresses are re-used from one baby to the next. The fungus has already had a chance to establish itself in the used mattress. When the next baby uses the same mattress, the fungus is soon active. Toxic gas production begins sooner and is generated in greater volume. It is known that crib death rates increase markedly from the first baby in a family to the second, and from the second to the third, and so on (Mitchell 2001).
High Room Temperature and Overwrapping
Overheating is believed to play a role in SIDS (Wells 1997). High room temperature and overwrapping of the baby can cause an increased risk of death, since toxic gas generation is greatly increased when the temperature of the bedding is raised. A five or six degree Fahrenheit climb in temperature of the mattress and bedding can make the fungi more active and thus increase gas generation about 10-20 times (Richardson 1991). High room temperature, an overload of blankets, or overdressing babies can cause them to receive higher doses of the gases.
Infections and Decreased Immunity
A baby with a strong immune system will have fewer infections and will be less likely to have fevers. During fevers, the heat generated by the baby's body increases the temperature of the bedding, which increases toxic gas generation. Heat stress (from infections and excessive room heat and insulation) is known to be a significant risk factor for SIDS (Guntheroth 2001). An infection can also lower a baby's tolerance to any given concentration of gases. More than 90 percent of SIDS babies have had upper respiratory infections shortly before death (Smith and Hattersley 2000).
Inadequate Vitamin C
Over 30 years ago, Archie Kalokerinos, M.D., a doctor practicing in the outback of Australia, was able to eliminate the unusually high incidence of SIDS by giving babies injections of ascorbate (vitamin C). Dr. Kalokerinos found that vitamin C deficiency was an important factor in the many diseases of the infants, especially sudden infant death. His work was independently duplicated in the U.S. by Fred Klenner, M.D. in Reidsville, North Carolina (Kalokerinos 1981).
Submissions of this evidence and documented case studies were made to the medical authorities and SIDS experts, both in Australia and the U.S. This evidence was completely ignored and no clinical trials were recommended. Dr. Kalokerinos tells his story in Every Second Child, a book that demonstrates the reluctance of many doctors to accept new ideas (Kalokerinos 1981).
The systems of the body cannot function without adequate vitamin C. It's been shown that many infants have marginal amounts in their bodies (Kalokerinos 1981). Any stress, including injury or illness, can increase the body's need for vitamin C (Cathcart 1981). Under conditions such as vaccinations (Kalokerinos 1981, Pauling 1981), upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, malnutrition, and other viral and bacterial infections, the existing vitamin C can be completely used up, leaving the immune system unable to cope with any toxic threat to the body. This can leave a baby more vulnerable to the toxic gases in mattresses (Smith and Hattersley 2000).
Dr. Sprott explains another reason why administering vitamin C to a baby can prevent death. "The high alkaline pH of babies' urine, dribble, perspiration, and vomit enables the fungus to grow and to generate the toxic gases rapidly. But consumption of vitamin C makes these bodily fluids acidic, reversing the alkalinity in the baby's crib environment and preventing gas generation." (Sprott 1996)
Vaccines are known to cause fevers in babies (CDC 2001). These fevers can increase generation of the gases, exposing babies to higher concentrations. In addition, vaccines can lead to the depletion of vitamin C in a baby's body (Hattersley 1993 and Pauling 1981), damaging the tiny body's developing nervous and immune systems. Vaccines have also been shown to cause stressed breathing (Scheibner 1993), weakened immunity, and neurological damage (Neustaedter 1996), which can lower the baby's ability to tolerate a given concentration of toxic gases.
Vaccines Alone Can Cause DeathMany researchers, doctors, scientists, and parents believe that vaccines alone can cause SIDS. Indeed, vaccines do cause death, and vaccine deaths are often labeled as SIDS cases. As Dawn Winkler, former Vice President of Concerned Parents for Vaccine Safety, points out, "The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has even compensated 93 families whose infants' deaths were labeled SIDS because the parent had the evidence in the autopsy to prove the vaccine caused it. Yet, the cause of death listing as "SIDS" was never changed on the death certificates of these 93 babies." (Winkler 2000)
Many SIDS parents have told the same story. Their previously healthy babies were not the same from the time they were vaccinated until they died. A high-pitched scream, excessive sleeping, poor appetite, and troubled breathing were common. At the time of death, no one investigates whether these babies could have died directly from the vaccines alone or if vaccine damage may have lowered the babies' capacity to withstand the toxic gases in their mattresses. No one investigates this because our government and the medical community deny that vaccines or toxic gases could be causes of death. Instead they label these deaths as SIDS and maintain that they do not know the cause. They refuse to accept the research that has already been done in both of these areas and remain steadfast in their commitment to deny any further research. Health officials continually refer to vaccine manufacturer-sponsored studies reporting no relationship between vaccines and SIDS. Some of these studies have been strongly criticized (Coulter 1996) and called into question because of potential biases that underestimate the risk of SIDS from vaccines (Fine 1992).
The assumption that SIDS is vaccine-related could very well be accurate. It seems likely that vaccines could be an indirect factor in SIDS cases, and may be the deciding factor that could cause a baby to succumb to the toxic gases. Perhaps some or even many SIDS babies may have survived the toxic insult of the gases were it not for vaccinations. We do not know this for sure. But we do know that not one baby has died sleeping on a properly wrapped mattress. Many of the babies sleeping on wrapped mattresses were vaccinated, but none of them were exposed to the gases. Vaccination rates among the Pakeha (non-Maori) people in New Zealand, who have enthusiastically adopted mattress wrapping, are very high. These people now have the lowest crib death rate in the world. The crib death rate is about seven times higher among Maori babies in New Zealand, who are vaccinated far less than the Pakeha. In Victory Over Crib Death, Lendon H. Smith, MD and Joseph G. Hattersley, MA astutely point out, "If vaccinations directly caused crib death, the proportions would be reversed." The article Victory Over Crib Death is a summary of Smith's and Hattersley's book, The Infant Survival Guide: Protecting Your Baby From the Dangers of Crib Death, Vaccines and Other Environmental Hazards. This book is considered by some to be a definitive guide to ending the terrible tragedy of crib death and proposes a new paradigm; that toxic gases are the single cause of nearly all crib deaths. In addition to advocating mattress wrapping, the authors strongly recommend against vaccinations.
The assumption that our government agencies do everything they can to protect our children is naive. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission has stated that BabeSafe mattress covers do not constitute any safety risk to babies. These covers (manufactured in New Zealand) are the only mattress covers designed to protect babies from toxic gases generated in mattresses. Yet even though the products are simple and inexpensive plastic mattress covers, the FDA requires the manufacturer to go through the expensive, complex, time-consuming procedure of obtaining pre-market approval in order for BabeSafe covers to be bulk imported into the U.S.
Instead of putting unnecessary hurdles in the way of a harmless and potentially life-saving product, why don't the authorities endorse mattress wrapping in the U.S. to see if the results achieved in New Zealand could be duplicated here? The score in New Zealand is now 520 deaths (orthodox crib death prevention advice) to none (mattress-wrapping). With so many more babies born in the U.S. than in New Zealand, the potential to save lives is dramatically greater - thousands every year. Why should even one baby be denied something that could potentially save his or her life? Fortunately, parents can still order the mattress covers to have them sent directly from New Zealand to their home. Alternatively, parents can wrap their babies' mattresses themselves, but use of the correct grade of polyethylene and adherence to explicit instructions are vital.
The FDA defines SIDS as a "disease" without providing any explanation of the alleged disease. However, as Dr. Sprott laments, "Crib death is not a disease, and until the FDA, the orthodox SIDS organizations, and the leading U.S. pediatricians admit the truth of these findings and the accuracy of our science, the U.S. crib death rate will continue as it is now; about eight dead babies every night. By contrast, New Zealand now leads the world in crib death prevention, and will be the first country in the world to eradicate SIDS."
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Winkler, Dawn. 2000. SIDS - Do Vaccines Play a Role? eHealthy News You Can Use - www.mercola.com. November 19 - Issue 180.