Lynx body spray death, Bengay death, ben-gay death

Body Spray Inhalation Kills British Boy

November 25, 2008 11:35 AM
by Emily Coakley
Common items such as body sprays and muscle creams can pose health risks, even if people think they are being properly used.

Too Much Body Spray and Heart Problem Led to Death

The death of a British boy highlights the dangers posed by household items. It is believed that Daniel Hurley’s January death from cardiac arrhythmia was caused by using too much Lynx body spray in an enclosed space.

Hurley, his father said, “was proud of his appearance and was ‘lavish’ in his use of deodorants and hair gels,” the Daily Telegraph reported.

An autopsy found no sign that Hurley had abused any substances. The pathologist, Andrew Hitchcock, told the Daily Telegraph: “What we have in this case is someone who may well have had a cardiac abnormality in the presence of the solvent. There is a very reasonable assumption that the passive inhalation of the solvent almost certainly led to his death.”

The can of spray warns people to “[u]se in well ventilated places, avoid prolonged spraying,” the Daily Telegraph said.

Hazards related to intentionally sniffing chemicals to get high, known as "huffing," are well-documented.

In 2005, an 11-year-old girl was found dead in her bed with a can of deodorant. The death was ruled an accident, according to the BBC. The name of the deodorant wasn’t released.

But Charlotte Henshaw’s mother said her daughter didn’t have a history of sniffing aerosols.

“We don’t believe she was sniffing aerosols. We never had any problems with that, or any cause for concern at all. She liked the smell of deodorant. She was at that age. She’d just started going to discos and that sort of thing,” Lesley Johnson told the BBC.

Earlier this month, Sherwin-Williams recalled 75,000 cans of a spray product designed to protect fabrics from ultraviolet exposure.

AP said, “Overexposure to fumes, vapor or spray mist from the product can pose a serious respiratory hazard to consumers. Sherwin-Williams has received one report of an incident involving a consumer who experienced coughing and difficulty breathing requiring overnight hospitalization.”

It’s not just sprays that can pose problems.

Last year, a New York teen died after using too much muscle cream.

Arielle Newman’s body absorbed too much methyl salicylate, an active ingredient in such creams. Newman was an award-winning runner. Experts told AP that such a cause of death is unusual.
Alice Newman, her mother, was quoted as saying, “I am scrupulous about my children’s health. I did not think an over-the-counter product could be unsafe.”

A spokesman for the maker of Bengay, Johnson & Johnson, told AP that the teen’s death reinforced the importance of reading and following directions on all over-the-counter drugs.

Related Topic: Teflon can be hazardous to birds

It’s not just humans who are susceptible to certain household items. Birds are susceptible to fumes from Teflon-coated cookware, according to the Eastern Canada Avian Association.

Teflon-coated pans that are heated to high temperatures can emit fumes that can injure or kill birds, the association said.

A page on Teflon toxicity, or PTFE, explains why the fumes are so dangerous. Birds are built with respiratory systems that efficiently bring oxygen to muscles.

“While delivering oxygen so efficiently, it can also deliver toxic gasses. In addition, the small size and high metabolic rate of birds increases their susceptibility to airborne toxins.”

Birds should never be kept in the kitchen, and common sources of PTFE include space heaters, nonstick cookware, hair dryers and “non-stick irons and ironing board covers.”

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