Air Duster Facts

Air duster is referred to by other common names including gas duster and canned air. This product can be purchased from retail stores. It’s used to clean electronics such as computers that can’t be cleaned with water or other liquids. When someone uses air duster, they press a trigger. That releases compress gas through the nozzle. Certain gases are used in air dusters such as difluoroethane and trifluoroethane. Air duster has a potential for misuse as well. Air duster is considered part of the inhalant drug class. When someone inhales air duster, it creates psychoactive effects including euphoria and hallucinations. Air duster misuse is especially common among adolescents and teens because it’s a cheap, accessible way to get high.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency to believe that air duster is safe to inhale. People tend to believe it contains things like nitrous oxide, which aren’t that harmful. In reality, the gasses contained in air duster are toxic. When someone inhales air duster, the gas then displaces oxygen in the lungs. It also removes carbon dioxide from the blood. That causes something called hypoxia, which is why people feel euphoric.

Air Duster Regulations

Because of the commonality of air duster and inhalant misuse, most states have put in place regulations and restrictions regarding these substances. In the U.S., 38 states have created laws that make certain inhalants unavailable to people under the age of 18. In some states, people have to identify why they’re buying certain inhalants, and there are also laws in place about possessing inhalants in many states. Even when someone over the age of 18 buys inhalants like air duster, they usually have to show some form of identification and their purchase may be recorded.

How Air Duster Affects The Brain And Body

Inhaling air duster is extremely dangerous. It can be more dangerous and deadly than many illegal street drugs even. When someone inhales air duster, the desirable effects include the potential for euphoria, as well as relaxation, drowsiness and a general sense of intoxication. Air duster can also cause clouded thinking and judgment as well as hallucinations. Air duster has these effects because it stops oxygen from going to the brain.

One of the biggest risks of air duster is something called Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. In this case, the heart beats quickly and erratically, which causes a heart attack. This can happen the first time someone uses air duster. Over time even if someone doesn’t die, they can suffer brain and central nervous system damage, organ damage and psychological problems. Over the long-term, air duster can also cause damage to bone marrow, hearing loss, behavioral and developmental problems, and addiction and dependence.

Most Commonly Abused Inhalants

The term inhalants covers a very broad class of drugs, and air duster is only one of these. Inhalants can be broken down into more specific categories. These include solvents, aerosol sprays, gases which is what air duster is, and nitrites. Nitrites are prescription medicines given for chest pain. Inhalants come in many common forms. Along with air duster, inhalants can include spray paint, glue and cleaning solutions. People can misuse inhalants by breathing in the fumes through their nose or mouth. Specific inhalants often misused include paint thinners, glue, correction fluids, whipped cream aerosols and even room odorizers.

Air Duster And Drug Tests

With air duster usage, the effects are usually felt almost instantaneously. An air duster high will last for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Detecting whether or not someone is using air duster or other inhalants is difficult. With most other drugs, their presence can be detected in blood, urine or hair tests. Most prescription and illegal drugs have very specific metabolites left behind as the body processes them. These can show up in drug tests for extended periods of time even after the parent drug leaves the system. For example, if you were asking does alcohol show up on a drug test, the answer is yes, but inhalant use is different. Inhalants don’t show up on a typical drug test. Instead, parents and medical professionals have to look at behavioral signs of use. In some cases, it is possible for medical professionals to see certain signs of inhalant use over time, such as elevated liver enzymes, however. In individuals who frequently take the drug, there may be chemicals that show up in urine, but again, it’s not as cut and dry as most drug tests.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.