Dad’s warning after girl, 14, dies from inhaling deodorant

Posted: 26th January 2023

The parents of a girl who died after inhaling aerosol deodorant want clearer product labelling to warn people of the potential dangers.

Giorgia Green, who was 14 and from Derby, had a cardiac arrest after spraying the deodorant in her bedroom.

Her parents have since become aware of other young people who accidentally died after inhaling deodorant.

In response, the British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA) said deodorants have “very clear warnings”.

By law, aerosol deodorants must be printed with the warning “keep out of reach of children”.

However, Giorgia’s parents said the writing is small.

They believe many parents buy deodorant for their children without noticing the warning.

“People don’t know how dangerous the contents of those tins can be,” said her father Paul.

“I would like it so that no-one else in the country – or the world – would end up having to go through what we’ve personally gone through.

“We don’t want our daughter’s death to be in vain.

Giorgia had autism and her father said she liked to spray deodorant on blankets as she found the smell comforting.

“The smell of it gave her a certain sense of relaxation,” said Mr Green.

“If she was feeling in any way a little bit anxious, she would spray this spray and it would give her a sense of comfort because it’s a deodorant my wife used.”

Giorgia’s older brother found her unresponsive in her bedroom on 11 May 2022.

“Her door was open, so it wasn’t as if it was an enclosed environment,” said her father.

“The exact amount [of deodorant] isn’t clear but it would be more than you would normally spray.

“At some point her heart stopped as a result of breathing it in.”

An inquest was held into Giorgia’s death and the coroner recorded the conclusion as misadventure.

Her medical cause of death was “unascertained but consistent with inhalation of aerosol”.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), “deodorant” was mentioned on 11 death certificates between 2001 and 2020.

However, the actual number of deaths is likely to be higher than this, due to the fact that specific substances are not always mentioned on death certificates.

Giorgia’s death certificate referred to “inhalation of aerosol” rather than “deodorant”.

Butane – the main ingredient of Giorgia’s deodorant – was recorded as having been involved in 324 deaths between 2001 and 2020. Propane and isobutane – also in Giorgia’s deodorant – were mentioned in 123 and 38 deaths respectively.

The ONS said the substances have been linked to a number of deaths, noting: “The inhalation of butane or propane gas can lead to heart failure.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said a number of people have died after over-spraying deodorants.

Ashley Martin, public health adviser at RoSPA, said: “It’s easy to assume they are completely safe and totally free from risk. The truth is they’re not.

“Inhaling large quantities of aerosols, not just deodorants, can lead to a whole host of life-endangering scenarios – from blackouts and breathing difficulties, to heart rhythm changes and sadly, death.

“There’s a common misconception that fatalities from aerosols only happen in a substance abuse scenario, but this is absolutely not true.

“We have seen a number of fatalities over recent years where children and young adults have over-sprayed aerosols – from teenagers conscious of body odour, to children seeking reassurance from familiar smells.”

What warnings are printed on aerosol deodorants?

By law, aerosol deodorants must be printed with the warning “keep out of reach of children”.

Most aerosol deodorants also have a warning that says “solvent abuse can kill instantly”. This is not a legal requirement, but is recommended by BAMA due to the risk of people inhaling aerosols to intentionally get high.

Giorgia’s parents believe the warning should be changed to “solvent use can kill instantly”, because Giorgia was not abusing deodorant.

Aerosol deodorants must also contain instructions on their correct usage, which are written following risk assessments carried out by the manufacturer. For example, the instructions might say “use in short bursts in well-ventilated places”.

If an aerosol deodorant is flammable there must also be a warning about this.

BAMA said in a statement: “The British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA) takes very seriously any incident involving aerosol products, and we were deeply saddened to learn of the death of someone so young.

“As an industry association we work with manufacturers to ensure that aerosols are made to the highest safety standards and are labelled with very clear warnings and usage instructions and recommend that anyone using an aerosol does so in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

“We also recommend applying a number of additional warnings and usage instructions, beyond those required by regulation, and continue to review these to encourage the safe use of aerosols.”

Source:  Dad’s warning after girl, 14, dies from inhaling deodorant – BBC News

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