Samples being taken from the apartment. a team from Sharjah Police, forensic experts and Sharjah Municipality staff, were sent to the two apartments to review them. Image Credit: Sharjah Police

Sharjah: Police sources have confirmed that the cause of death of a 21-day-old Syrian child in Sharjah on Monday was due to chemical poisoning owing to pesticide usage.

The chemical fumes also led to the deceased child’s three-year-old sister suffering from low blood pressure and the parents of the children showing symptoms of chemical poisoning.

Sharjah Police have launched an investigation into the incident.

The Syrian family inhaled the toxic gas, which leaked out of an apartment adjacent to theirs in a building in the Al Nahda area of Sharjah.

The children were rushed to the Dubai hospital for suspected pesticide poisoning.

Despite the best efforts of doctors, the baby did not survive. His sister, after being in a critical condition, has begun showing signs of recovery.

The Dubai police operation room alerted the Sharjah Police of the incident and the deceased child’s body has been moved to the Sharjah forensic laboratory for autopsy.

Meanwhile, a team from Sharjah Police, forensic experts and Sharjah Municipality staff, were sent to the two apartments to review them.

Pesticide odour was present in the house of the affected family in addition to a number of dead insects found on the floor, the apartment that used the chemical had a similar look.

The tenant of the second flat has been arrested by Sharjah Police on charges of causing the death of a baby by mistake.

When questioned about the source of the pesticide, the tenant said that he had obtained it from a friend. Sharjah police is looking for the person who supplied the killer pesticide in order to identify the source of the material and complete the case proceedings.

Colonel Dr Abdul Kader Al Amri, Director of Sharjah Police Forensic Laboratory, said that all indications and preliminary evidence suggest the death of the baby was due to inhalation of carbon monoxide, which leaked from the adjacent flat.

Carbon monoxide has no smell, colour or taste, and is termed as the “silent killer”. “Inhalation of the gas causes the victim to feel sleepy, while inhalation of large volumes of it leads to death because of the shortage of oxygen created in the body,” said Col. Al Amri.

Sharjah Police have organised several awareness campaigns warning the public against the use of dangerous and deadly pesticides, often obtained from unfamiliar persons and fictitious companies, which are not licensed to conduct such businesses and who exploit people’s ignorance on the risks associated with improper pest control measures.