Deodorant is a normal, every day product. Most of us who are past the age of puberty use it regularly, perhaps even multiple times a day. Did you know, however, that some deodorants – particularly the aerosol kinds – can be quite dangerous, even deadly. A dad is now warning of the dangers of inhaling deodorant after his 14-year-old daughter died from it accidentally.
14-Year-Old Dies From Inhaling Deodorant
Giorgia Green’s family says that she was a happy young girl. She also suffered from autism, which could often cause her anxiety. When she felt anxious, she would spray deodorant on blankets as she found the smell comforting. The family was unaware, sadly, just how dangerous this practice could be.
Her brother found her unconscious in her bedroom at their home in Derby, the UK, on May 11, 2022. The bedroom door was open, so she was not trying to hide anything. She had simply sprayed the deodorant in her room to help calm her nerves. Sadly, doctors pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital. (1)
“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.”
Medical Cause of Death: Inhalation of Aerosol
The doctors and coroner concluded that her medical cause of death was “unascertained but consistent with inhalation of aerosol”. The chemicals in aerosol deodorant are to blame here. The main ingredient in the one that Giorgia was using was butane. This chemical is 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. (2)
“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,” said Ashley Martin, public health adviser at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). “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.”
They say that they have seen a number of fatalities in recent years of both children and adolescents from spray-on deodorants. These have been because the user was either self-conscious of their body odor or situations such as Giorgia’s, where they were spraying it for comfort. In many cases, they spray them because someone they know and love uses the same scent, which helps them to feel relaxed and comforted by their scent.
Keep Out Of Reach of Children
There is a warning label on the back of aerosol deodorant canisters. This warning, however, is written in very small lettering. The warning says to keep the cans out of reach of children. They also state that “solvent abuse can kill instantly”, however, Giorgia´s parents feel that this is not enough.
They believe it should be changed to simply state that “solvent use can kill instantly”, because in their daughter’s case, she was not abusing them. This is the case with several other young people, who also were not using them for the purpose of inhaling to get high. The British Aerosol Manufacture’s Association made this statement following Giorgia´s death:
“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.”
The Bottom Line
These aerosol deodorant sprays are quite clearly a risk – it states as much right on the packaging. There are many other forms of non-aerosol odor control available. For yourself and your children, consider these other types of deodorant rather than the aerosol variety.
- “Dad’s warning after girl, 14, dies from inhaling deodorant.” BBC. January 26, 2023.
- “Deaths related to volatile substances, helium and nitrogen in England and Wales: 2001 to 2020 registrations.” ONS