"Detergent Suicides" Growing Trend - Deadly to Rescuers
A new wave of suicide, that has the potential to take out any attempted rescuers has made it's way to Wake County, North Carolina. Now Police and firefighters are trying to get the word out. Dubbed the "detergent suicides" and first seen in Japan nearly two years ago, Capt. Ian Toms with Raleigh Hazmat, said; "This is a real problem, especially for us as responders and also people in proximity that, you know, you might get a Good Samaritan out there that might see something wrong and may go try and help. And it could be their last breath too."
The method is simple, common household chemicals, the kind you are taught never to mix together. Used in a small, inclosed space it only takes minutes for the the area to be filled with an extremely deadly gas. The victim in Cary, sat in the front seat of his car, mixed them together in a 5 gallon plastic bucket, sitting on the seat, next to him. Toms' says his crews approached the car wearing chemical suits and respirators. When the team arrived, the levels of hydrogen sulfide in the car were over three times the lethal limit. Easily enough to take out anyone who had come upon the scene unprepared.
Fortunately for rescue workers, the victim a 31 year old Cary man, whose name has not been released, evidently didn't want to spend his eternity dealing with the bad karma, taking the life of those who may have tried to save his. He plastered signs all over his car, warning people to stay away. Law Enforcement officers found the car on Cary Reserve Drive around 11 a.m. The signs reading: "Do not open!!! poison gas!!! hydrogen sulfide." They did just that, and they called, a hazardous materials team from Raleigh.
While this was the first for Wake County, Law Enforcement and Raleigh Hazmat told ABC News, these "detergent suicides" are part of a growing trend - found in Europe following the first reports from Japan two years ago; there have also been recent cases in California and Georgia. In Japan, the method, is spreading via Web sites, has been linked to at least 10 suicide cases this year, according to unnamed sources.
The deaths all over Japan are attributed to inhaling hydrogen sulfide gas created by mixing a type of detergent with bath powder, is increasing. A variety of 'suicide bulletin boards' have introduced the method, replacing the charcoal briquette method that once prevailed.
Medical experts have warned of the unintended dangers of the new method. Involving innocent people. People who survive the exposure and suffer terrible aftereffects.”In mid-February, a woman and her two children, living on the third floor of a condominium in Tokyo, woke with a headache and noticed a strong sulfurous odor. After taking medication for the pain, that did not go away, she noticed the smell was becoming stronger.
The woman tracked the odor to a condo on the first floor . She found several cases of detergent on the floor, and yellow smoke rising from a pot. When firefighters arrived they told the woman to seek treatment for herself and her children. They were treated at a hospital, and the woman was told by a doctor that her headache had been caused by the hydrogen sulfide gas. The man who also lived, visited the woman to apologize. He told her that he had tried killing himself after learning of the method online and he never meant to harm anyone else.