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Sprott In Spat With Director-General Of Health

Published: Mon 4 Sep 2000 09:39 AM
Sprott In Spat With Director-General Of Health: Dr Poutasi Enters Debate About Toxic Gas Generation From Arsenic In Sheepskins
Dr Jim Sprott has described as "fatuous" criticism which has been levelled at him by Dr Karen Poutasi, Director-General of Health.
In late August Dr Sprott issued media releases drawing attention to research which proved that highly toxic gas can be generated from compounds of arsenic in sheepskin used as baby bedding. He criticised Dr Pat Tuohy, the Ministry of Health's Chief Advisor for Child & Youth Health, for not drawing the research to the attention of New Zealand parents.
In a letter to Dr Sprott dated 29 August, Dr Poutasi told Dr Sprott that his comments which "personalise the debate to the views of Dr Tuohy are unhelpful and unnecessary".
"This is fatuous," said Dr Sprott. "Dr Tuohy attended a major international cot death conference in February in his capacity as the senior Ministry advisor on child health. He learned that a scientist had proved that sheepskin used as baby bedding can generate highly toxic gas. Yet six months later Dr Tuohy had not issued any statement to the public, even as a precaution."
Dr Sprott noted with interest a statement in Dr Poutasi's letter that Dr Tuohy had her full support.
"Would Dr Poutasi please tell the New Zealand public whether she endorses the use of sheepskin as baby bedding, given the conclusive proof of generation of highly toxic gas from compounds of arsenic in sheepskin?" asked Dr Sprott.

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