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Public Not Informed Of Toxic Gas From Sheepskins

Published: Wed 23 Aug 2000 10:34 AM
Ministry Of Health Fails To Tell Public About Proof Of Toxic Gas Generation From Sheepskins
Dr Jim Sprott has criticised the Ministry of Health for failing to inform the public about research reported earlier this year which proves the generation of highly toxic gases from sheepskin. Sheepskin is commonly used as baby bedding.
At the SIDS 2000 Conference held in Auckland last February, a Canadian scientist presented conclusive proof of toxic gas generation from New Zealand sheepskin. The presentation was attended by Dr Pat Tuohy, Chief Advisor for Child & Youth Health at the Ministry of Health. The gases concerned are trimethylarsine (which is generated from compounds of arsenic in sheepskin) and trimethylstibine (which is generated from compounds of antimony in sheepskin). These are among the most toxic gases and can kill babies at very low concentrations.
"I've been telling parents for years not to use sheepskins as baby bedding," said Dr Sprott. "The Canadian research has provided incontrovertible proof of highly toxic gas generation from New Zealand sheepskin, but the Ministry of Health has sat on the finding for more than six months. One wonders how many babies have died of cot death on sheepskins in the meantime."
"Dr Tuohy was present at the SIDS 2000 Conference when this gas generation was reported, but he has failed to tell New Zealand parents about this crucial scientific finding."
"In actual fact, Dr Tuohy himself supplied the sheepskin which was tested in the Canadian research," said Dr Sprott, "and he knew that a baby had died of cot death on that sheepskin."
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