Dust Off, used to Clean Computers, is Teens’ Latest Choice of Substance to Abuse by Dusting

The term “huffing” has been around for ages. It is an act of inhaling; most popularly spray paint or any other inhalant, to achieve a high. It is be done by limiting air supply to the lungs and inhaling large gusts of the inhalant. The new fad amongst teens is dusting. Teens and adolescents are taking Dust Off or other computer dusters and they are inhaling it. The term dusting was a play off of the product, Dust Off. It can be done by putting the little straw into the mouth and pulling the trigger on the can. The high from dusting usually lasts about 10 seconds. Dusting may not seem worthwhile, but it is easy for teens to walk into a store and buy the can of Dust Off.

From this…                                                                                                             to this…



Why is dusting so harmful?

Many kids are under the impression that by dusting, they are just inhaling compressed air. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is a chemical inside of the can, a propellant called difluoroethane, a freon type gas that is also used as a refrigerant. It is an extremely heavy gas that fills the lungs when inhaled, and prevents oxygen from entering. The lack of oxygen to the lungs prevents it from getting to the brain, which can result in death. It can also cause irregular heart rhythms that can results in cardiac arrest. There is no telling which “hit” will be the last. Any one time could be the fatal inhalation because there is not “overdosing”. In the United Kingdom, where deaths associated with these substances are tracked, 39 percent of the deaths occurred during the victim’s first time.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that inhalant experimentation is initiated earlier than any other illicit substance. A higher percentage of 12 and 13 year olds have used inhalants and dusting than marijuana.

The most effective way to combat dusting – educate your children on how harmful it can be and that the first try can easily be the last try. Spreading the word about dusting to as many people as possible will help the education process

Here are some warning signs of dusting:

  • Disappearance of the product at a rapid rate
  • Empty cans or containers of chemicals in trash cans
  • Large stashes of a chemical product in the child’s room
  • Strange smells on or around a child
  • Residue of the product on a child’s clothing or face
  • Complaints of numbness of the tongue, vocal chords or throat (due to freezer burn)
  • Dazed looks or bloodshot eyes


To get more information please visit our website at www.couragetospeak.org


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4 Responses to Dusting – The Potential New Killer

  1. Jennifer says:

    Wow! Very insightful article. As a mom, substance prevention advocate, and educator I make it my job to find the latest trends in adolescent substance abuse. I did not realize this was even an issue. Thank you so much for bringing it to the attention of parents.

  2. evon says:

    My 36 year old pregnant daughter died 6/13/13. 3 cans of dusting were found on the couch by her body. I had previously been with her that day, knew she was depressed, but had no clue whatsoever that she was in this situation and had never in my life heard of dusting. Looking back, weight loss while pregnant was contributed to diabetic during pregnancy and vomiting. Headaches were dismissed as natural, she was depressed due to being an un-wed mother and all the fears of being a first time mother as well.

  3. Christy Robinson says:

    I am so sorry evon! I work at a Christian mental hospital and with woman who are pregnant or have just had a baby and are depressed and feeling suicidal. This is not rare. I’m sorry for your loss.

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