Inhalants: Chemical | Organic composition

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 4:32 pm

No single chemical structure defines inhalants, because the term itself describes any vapor-producing volatile chemical that abusers sniff, huff, spray, or inhale to achieve intoxication. By nature, inhalants come in many forms — about 1,000 to 1,400 different products, according to different U.S. authorities. Also, some products are a mix of chemicals that, when combined, multiply and heighten the toxic impact.
Following are examples of such chemicals, by category, listed by the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition and Kaiser Permanente:
• Aerosols: Sprays containing propellants and solvents. In the United States, spray paints contain butane and propane (aliphatic hydrocarbons), fluo-rocarbon, hydrocarbons, and toluene; hair sprays and air fresheners contain butane, propane, and flu-orocarbon; aerosol spray topical pain relievers and asthma sprays contain fluorocarbon.
• Anesthetics: Nitrous oxide (N20) or laughing gas, the most abused of the gases. Liquid anesthetic contains halothane and enflurane; local anesthetic contains ethyl chloride. Vegetable oil cooking spray and whipping cream cartridges also contain nitrous oxide.
• Cleaning agents: Dry cleaning fluid and spot removers contain tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethane; degreasers contain those ingredients as well as trichloroethylene and methylene chloride. Trichlorethylene and trichlorethane are also found in antifreeze, caulking compounds, and in some paints, glues, adhesives, and sealants.
• Solvents: Polish remover contains acetone; paint remover, paint thinner, and correction fluids contain toluene (an aromatic hydrocarbon), methylene chloride, and methanol; fuel gas contains butane; lighter fluid contains butane and isopropane; fire extinguishers contain bromochlorodifluoromethane.
• Nitrites: Room odorizers such as Locker Room, Rush, Poppers, Bolt, and Climax (also marketed as video head cleaner) contain amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite, and propyl nitrite.
• Freons: Halogenated hydrocarbons, refrigerants.
• Gasoline: A mixture of toluene and benzene and C6-C8 aliphatic.

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