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Mothballs Linked To Brain Damage And Deaths In Children

Posted Feb 06 2011 12:18am

A rather worrying report has been published which links naphthalene, the active substance in mothballs, to brain damage and deaths in young children. What is more worrying is that 1 in 20 children are thought to be reactive to the chemical. Children who are of Asian, African, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean descent are primarily affected. Some children in this group have a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.

This deficiency means that these children develop a severe case of haemolysis - this is essentially a breaking down of the red blood cells. Red blood cells of course are required to carry oxygen around the body. With a much lower red blood cell count, the brain becomes deprived of oxygen causing brain damage and/or death.

With hospital systems the way they are, children taken to emergency departments will most likely be sent home with hospital staff claiming they are only suffering from the flu. The telltale symptoms are that a child comes from one of those ethnic backgrounds, has suddenly become extremely jaundiced, and is very weak. If your child has been exposed to moth balls, and this exposure only needs to be minor, for example, sleeping under a blanket or wearing a jumper that has been mothballed, then look out for those symptoms. If they occur, remember this article and head of to the emergency department of your hospital.

With any disorder such as this, urgent assistance can save a life. Because red blood cells are being destroyed, doctors will most likely need to perform a blood transfusion - but it will help to prevent brain damage, and possibly even death. I suggest you find alternative methods to keep moths out of your wardrobes. These mothballs have been banned in Europe since 2008 and since there are viable alternatives, I see no reason why they shouldn't be banned here as well. Of course, you could just boycott them if you feel uncomfortable with them. You can read the news article here .

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