Detergent suicide not a clean way to end a life

Last year in Japan authorities noticed a grisly new way to commit suicide was becoming a fad of sorts. Called detergent suicide it involved a technique of mixing common household chemical to produce a deadly hydrogen sulfide gas. This fad apparently has begun to find its way into the United States via the Internet.

In Japan at least 500 men, women and children took their lives in the first half of 2008 after following instructions posted on Japanese websites. The instructions described how to mix bath sulfur with toilet bowl cleaner to create the poisonous gas. One site even included an application to calculate the correct portions of each ingredient base on room volume. As well you could download a PDF file containing ready-made warning signs to alert neighbors and emergency workers of the danger.

It was the death of a 23-year-old California man who was found dead in his car behind a Pasadena shopping center that alerted U.S. officials that this detergent suicide had made its way here. The young man’s car doors were locked, the windows rolled up and a warning sign had been posted in one of the windows.

Then in December emergency workers responded to a call at Lake Allatoona in Barlow County, Georgia to body inside a car. Along with the warning sign in the window they also found two buckets containing a yellow substance. these two events were linked until last month when Dr. Paul Pepe, a Texas surgeon connected the dots and issued an alarm. While in all cases so far the victims left a warning sign of the chemical danger Emergency Managers are worried that someone may not and as a result end up killing other innocent people.

“The normal response for an EMS, is they’re going to break open the window,” says August Vernon, assistant coordinator for the Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management, who was consulted by the Department of Homeland Security on the danger this week. “And that’s a pretty normal call: someone unconscious inside the car. Fortunately, those people left notes, which is pretty unusual and a good thing.”

“Eventually,” he adds, “someone isn’t going to leave a note.”

Source: Threat Level


Even in death man’s ingenuity never ceases to amaze.