Can inhaling deodorants be fatal?


Doctors say that if you inhale deodorants in order to get intoxicated or high it can prove to be the reason for your death as well. In fact, deodorants happen to be one of the many household products that have substances that people may use for the purpose of inhalant abuse. Recently a 19-year-old boy died because he resorted to using deodorants in the absence of any other drug. Along with deodorants, hairsprays and paint thinners are household items that contain substances, which people may use for inhalant abuse. Experts say that in the USA (United States of America) this particular activity happens to be immensely popular among teenagers.

Some important facts in this regard

It needs to be mentioned in this particular regard that most of these teens are from financially less privileged backgrounds. Each year such inhalant abuse claims around 125 lives in the USA alone.

The different kinds of inhalant abuse

There are three main kinds of inhalant abuse – sniffing, huffing, and bagging. The process of sniffing is simple – you inhale it straightaway. Huffing is when you inhale through a cloth. In the process of bagging, you use a balloon or a plastic bag to perform the inhalation. The biggest candidates that come in handy in such abusive practices are volatile solutions, pressurized gases, and aerosols.

The case details of the death reported above

In case of the aforementioned death, the deceased was being treated at a drug rehab clinic for cannabis and ketamine abuse. In spite of the treatment, he went back to his old habits. He wanted to get high and so he wrapped a towel over his head and straightaway inhaled some spray from a deodorant. This led to him becoming hyperactive rather quickly and after that, he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed. As you all know, cardiac arrest is a situation where there is a sudden stoppage in blood flow because the heart is unable to pump blood properly.


Doctors tried to revive him with six rounds of defibrillation, shocking the heart in simple language, and basic life support. He was then admitted to intensive care where he was placed in an induced medical coma. However, this did not improve his condition and doctors understood that he was beyond any treatment. They stopped his treatment and he passed away shortly later on.

Not just an isolated case

It is not as if the above incident is an isolated case. For 40 years and more, there have been many reports of cases where people have suffered cardiac arrests after inhaling volatile substances. The first such death was in fact reported back in 1975.

The role played by butane

The main culprit, in this case, is a poisonous substance known as butane. Butane happens to be one of the hydrocarbons that are used commonly in propellants that feature in sprayable products used in households. Doctors say that hydrocarbons are fat soluble, which is why they can easily cross the barriers between air and blood, and blood and brain.

This is why you need to be very careful when you are using such products – make sure you never inhale them.

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