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The Dangers of Dust Off and Inhalant Use
Last Updated: 12/11/2017
Dust-Off is a brand of gas duster (refrigerant-based propellant cleaner, which is not compressed air and incorrectly called "canned air") containing difluoroethane; it is used to remove particulates and dust from computers and electronic equipment. Some customers buy Dust-Off just to clean dust and debris from hard to reach areas. Dust-Off is manufactured by Falcon Safety Products. The product has also gained attention as it has been abused as an inhalant by teenagers, as seen in the movie Thirteen. There has been a warning email circular that has been distributed from Jeff Williams, a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, whose son, Kyle, died after inhaling Dust-Off in Painesville Township, Ohio.

Jeff Williams is a police office in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. On March 2, 2005, Kyle Williams, age 14, was found dead in his bed by his mother, Kathy. Kyle died from asphyxiation resulting from inhaling Dust Off, a popular brand of compressed air used in cleaning electronic components.
Jeff Williams posted his story on two smoking cessation web sites days after Kyle's death as a form of therapy for himself.

“Huffing” or “dusting” are common names for inhalation abuse, a form of drug usage. Inhalation is popular among teens because it uses normal household products that arouse little suspicion. The easy availability of these products lead many kids to assume the practice is safe. According to the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, as many as one in five Eighth graders have experimented with inhalants.
The “high” produced by inhalation is actually oxygen deprivation. Chemicals in the products inhaled fill the lungs and prevent oxygenated air from entering, producing a brief period of light-headedness as the brain is robbed of oxygenated blood. Unconsciousness, brain damage and death from asphyxiation can result.
Dust Off is just one brand of compressed air cleaner. Blast Away, Kensington Duster II and Airduster are a few others. Most brands contain warnings about misuse on the package and Falcon Safety Products, maker of Dust Off, has a special web site, Dusters 101, specifically designed to educate consumers on the proper use of their products and the dangers of abuse. However, Williams believes that the company did so only after - and in response to - Kyle's death.
In many cases of inhalant abuse, it is not the products themselves, but rather the propellants used in their packaging that pose the hazard. Other seemingly harmless household items used for huffing include hairspray, aerosol whipped cream, correction fluid (White-Out, Liquid Paper), felt-tipped markers, butane and even cooking spray. The NIPC urges all parents to discuss the very real dangers of inhalant use with their children


"It is never too early to teach your children about the dangers of inhalants. Don't just say "not my kid." Inhalant use starts as early as elementary school and is considered a gateway to further substance abuse. Parents often remain ignorant of inhalant use or do not educate their children until it is too late. Inhalants are not drugs. They are poisons and toxins and should be discussed as such."
Read more about inhalent dangers at Break The Chain


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