HC Deb 14 October 1991 vol 196 c80W
Mr. John Browne

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the reasons for the presence of antimony as reported in the Turner report into sudden infant death, page 54, "Results of Analysis of test papers, paragraph 4.6.2."; what gas gave rise to the deposits of antimony; and how toxic was that gas.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Antimony is present in plastic cot mattress covers as a filler and as a fire retardant. This single case of apparent mobilisation of antimony theoretically could have been due to that or more likely to contamination. It is of significance that no other samples produced measurable amounts of stibine. The human toxicity of stibine, the gas produced from antimony, is dependent on the quantity present and the exposure of any individual to the gas.

The independent experts who produced the report on the hypothesis that toxic gases evolved from cot mattresses by fungal action are a cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) found no evidence that there is a link between SIDS incidence, the presence of antimony, and associated low levels of arsenic impurity, or phosphorus additives in cot mattresses and their covers, microbial contamination of those mattresses and covers, and the generation of toxic volatile gases.