Misuse of Duster Cleaning Product Leads Man to Court

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WESLACO – Most people don't often hear of prosecutions for the misuse of a household product.

This week, a crime landed a man behind bars. The man is accused of inhaling or ingesting a household cleaner. He pleaded not guilty. The judge set a trial date.

Experts told CHANNEL 5 NEWS, using these household sprays could be deadly.

Many people probably have it at home or in their office. Dusters are used to keep electronics such as keyboards clean.

According to court documents, the man misused one of these types of dusters.

Palmer Drug Abuse Program Director Joel Morales says many who use them don't stop after one time.

"It's not an extended trip that you can say you're going to be while for a while. That's another reason why it can be so addictive because you have to be doing it every so often," he said.

The effects can be chilling.

The American Addiction Center reports short-term use side effects include lightheadedness, drowsiness, trouble breathing, disorientation, lack of oxygen to the brain, loss of consciousness and even coma.

Sudden sniffing death can occur even after just one sniff. Morales says these products are cheap and accessible. That's part of the problem.

Even admitting it can be a difficult part of seeking help.

"Sometimes, they'll even come in here and say, 'well, I have a marijuana problem.' And, they really don't want to let you know that you have a duster problem," Morales explains.

Morales says if you suspect someone is having problems, encourage them to seek help immediately.

He explains that seeking professional help can be complicated. Some rehabilitation centers don't recognize dusters as a drug.

According to the American Addiction Centers, there are signs to look for if you suspect someone is misusing household products.

They include a chemical smell on clothing, skin or breath; slurred speech; acting drunk or disoriented; wheezing; a 'glue sniffer's' rash around nose or mouth; and hiding paraphernalia used like rags, tissues, bags and empty cans.


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