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The Dangers of Toxic Household Items

Inhalants are typically common household items that people huff or sniff to get high. Kids often abuse inhalants because they are easy to get and they are often already in the home.

Inhalants fall into three broad categories: aerosols, solvents, and gases. Aerosols include items like spray paint, hairspray, and keyboard cleaner. Solvents include items like paint thinner, gasoline, lighter fluid, markers, and glue. It is thought that some common solvents depress the central nervous system in a way similar to alcohol or anesthesia and some produce a dopamine response, which makes them more addictive. Gases include butane from lighters, propane from tanks, and whipped cream aerosol, or “whippets.”

Inhalants cause slurred speech, dizziness, euphoria, and lack of coordination. The high from these items is short, usually only a few minutes. That’s good because the effects wear off quickly, but it’s bad because it may lead to repeated use. The more frequently inhalants are used, the more permanent the effects are likely to be. That is especially dangerous for younger kids, who are still developing mentally and physically. Inhalants reduce oxygen to the brain, which can cause brain damage and delay behavioral development.

Other long-term effects of inhalants include liver and kidney damage, bone marrow damage, and nerve damage leading to loss of coordination and spasms.

Inhalants can cause fatal overdoses, even in new users. Some solvents are very concentrated and breathing too much of them can cause the heart to stop. Also, using inhalants in a small, closed space or huffing from a bag can cause death by suffocation. Short of death, inhalants can cause seizures or coma.

The good news is that inhalants are not particularly addictive and very few people develop a dependence. They often cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches which are unpleasant. People usually use inhalants for lack of options or because they are kids and kids like to try things, even if those things are obviously a bad idea. Nonetheless, it is possible to become addicted to inhalants. Many people are familiar with the addictive possibilities of inhalants from the “Walking on Sunshine” video that was popular online a few years ago. The woman in the video bought aerosol keyboard cleaner by the case and huffed it in her car. Anyone who has seen the video is familiar with the dangers of certain toxic household items.

Just because household items are common doesn’t mean abusing them is not dangerous. Be aware if someone in your family is behaving strangely. To help someone abusing household items or other drugs, call Gardens Wellness Center today at 844-828-1050 or email us at