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Monday

Suicide by Blood Agent

A teen age girl in Japan committed suicide by creating deadly hydrogen sulphide gas in her apartment. The instructions for creating the chemical mixture was found on a computer in the apartment...apparently there have been a number of suicides/attempts since the internet information has been published. About 100 residents in the apartment building had to be evaluated following exposure. Other residents complained of respiratory distress and irritation.

This tragic story is yet another example of the Consumer-Level Hazardous Materials Incident. These events are created when routine chemical products are combined, intentionally or accidentally, to generate harmful chemical events. With all the focus on terrorism...we tend to forget about the common items we see everyday...and the impact they can have on our response.

In this case, Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) was created by a mixture of readily available products (note: I am not listing the chemicals in attempt to keep people from doing this...if you're a responder and would like the information, please email me). H2S is a blood agent, meaning that it prevents the hemoglobin from functioning. Carbon Monoxide and Cyanide are other examples of blood agents. As an interesting note: cyanide is described as one of the least toxic blood agents. H2S poisoning follows the toxidrome of mucous membrane dryness, gasping, air hunger, respiratory failure, tachycardia and CV collapse.

In addition, H2S and a variety of other chemicals and acids can be produced by homemade chemical bombs. These types of events, intentional or accidental, can produce deadly outcomes. They can create the instant MCI and include worried well as well as actual exposure patients. Remember to consider decontamination of any patient exposed to a chemical liquid or gas.

More to follow.
Rick