Online Forums Promoting Suicide By Hydrogen Sulfide Gas

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    Online forums are leading more Japanese people to commit suicide with hydrogen sulfide gas, a method that can cause harm to innocent bystanders:

    Suicides attributed to inhaling hydrogen sulfide gas created by mixing a type of detergent with bath powder have increased in recent months, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

    The method, which has been introduced via Web sites, has been linked to at least 10 suicide cases this year, according to sources.

    Various so-called suicide bulletin boards have introduced the method of suicide instead of using briquette charcoal, a method that once prevailed.

    Medical experts have warned of the unintended dangers of the new method.

    One expert said: “This method is very dangerous because it could involve innocent people. People could survive exposure to the gas and suffer terrible aftereffects.”

    In mid-February, a female company employee living on the third floor of a condominium building in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, woke with a headache and noticed a strong sulfurous smell. She took a medicine for her headache, but it did not go away, and she noticed the smell was becoming stronger.

    The woman tracked the source of the smell to a room on the first floor, where she found a man lying on the floor of a closed room. She reported seeing several cases of detergent on the floor, and yellow smoke rising from a pot.

    Firefighters arrived at the site soon after and they told the woman to seek treatment for herself and her two children. The three received treatment at a hospital, and the woman was told by a doctor that her headache had been caused by the hydrogen sulfide gas.

    The man escaped death and later visited the woman to apologize. He told the woman that he had tried to kill himself after learning of the method online.

    Update [April 25]: Hydrogen sulfide gas suicides are becoming an even greater problem, with daily news reports of new suicides by gas. Last night’s news broadcast contained the following chart, which shows the number of people who committed suicide by gas in April:

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