Recently a young Christchurch boy died after inhaling butane from an aerosol can. Tragic as it is we need publicity around events such as this to serve as a warning to others of the dangers of misusing hazardous substances. In 2000 Butane was reported as the substance implicated in over 50% of solvent related deaths in the UK. It is we adults who have the responsibility to inform and educate our young people about these known hazards to health, and to intervene when we become aware of their risk-taking behaviour is their tendency is to ignore us. Protecting our children often involves protecting them from themselves and their peers when they lack the knowledge to make good decisions.

There is a similar responsibility amongst adults, one to another, in a working environment. Solvents are common in our everyday lives, and butane is just one of these. Solvents are commonly found in paints, adhesives, cleaning agents, industrial coatings, printing inks, thinners, degreasers, and pharmaceutical products such as deodorants, shaving foams, hair sprays and dyes, nail polishes and nail polish remover.

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