The Peaceful Pill eHandbook Sodium Selenite - Na2SeO3
The element Selenium was first isolated by Swedish chemist Jons Jacob Berzelius in 1817 who named it after Selene the Roman moon goddess (to balance Tellus/ tellurium the earth god). The element was not only essential for human life, but it was also a component of a number of extremely toxic inor- ganic salts. The salt - sodium selenite - is found in low doses (<50ugm/ day) in human vitamin supplements. At higher dos- es, however, Selenium is lethal and has no effective antidote.
Since the salts - sodium azide and sodium nitrite - were first added to the Peaceful Pill eHandbook in 2016 there has been a marked reported increase in their use as a death agent. This phenomena has been discussed in the medical literature and noted at coronial inquests. There is a concomitant move to re- strict these substances as an end of life option. To this end, the availability of the other three salts described in this Chapter is in decline with many suppliers insisting on dealing only with registered companies. This is not the case with sodium sel- enite.
A sodium selenite death is not ‘peaceful’. Indeed, the reported symptoms that can be experienced prior to death include: ab- dominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and a strong breath smell of garlic. However, because it is available, simple in prepara- tion, reliable, legal and that it has no effective treatment option makes it a topic of interest.
The mechanism of death is not well understood, but assumed to be due to the ready replacement of selenium for sulphur in critical cellular enzymatic processes. Death is due to histotoxic hypoxia. Time to death after ingestion can be several hours.