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Commonly Abused Inhalants

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Hazards of Chemicals Found in Commonly Abused Inhalants

amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite

("poppers," "video head cleaner")
sudden sniffing death syndrome, suppressed immunologic function, injury to red blood cells (interfering with oxygen supply to vital tissues) benzene (found in gasoline) bone marrow injury, impaired immunologic function, increased risk of leukemia, reproductive system toxicity

 

butane, propane
(found in lighter fluid, hair and paint sprays)
sudden sniffing death syndrome via cardiac effects, serious burn injuries (because of flammability)

 

freon
(used as a refrigerant and aerosol propellant)
sudden sniffing death syndrome, respiratory obstruction and death (from sudden cooling/cold injury to airways), liver damage

 

methylene chloride
(found in paint thinners and removers, degreasers)
reduction of oxygen-carrying capacity of blood, changes to the heart muscle and heartbeat

 

nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), hexane
death from lack of oxygen to the brain, altered perception and motor coordination, loss of sensation, limb spasms, blackouts caused by blood pressure changes, depression of heart muscle functioning

 

toluene

(found in gasoline, paint thinners and removers, correction fluid)
brain damage (loss of brain tissue mass, impaired cognition, gait disturbance, loss of coordination, loss of equilibrium, limb spasms, hearing and vision loss), liver and kidney damage

 

trichlorethylene
(found in spot removers, degreasers)
sudden sniffing death syndrome, cirrhosis of the liver, reproductive complications, hearing and vision damage.



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