Dusting Injuries Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Compressed Gas Dusting Spray?

A compressed gas dusting spray is typically marketed for use as a dust and lint remover for computer keyboards and other electronics.

The compressed gas dusting sprays work by blowing a stream of high-pressure gas out of an aerosol-type can to clear dust and debris from the surface of whatever product or device is being cleaned.

Compressed gas dusting sprays are commonly referred to as “dusters,” “keyboard dusters,” or “canned gas,”.  

There have been several manufacturers of the product over the years. The two major brand names are “Dust-Off” and “Ultra Duster.” There have been several manufacturers of the product over the years, so these are not the only brands in the marketplace (for example 3M has or had their own 3M branded dusting spray).

Compressed gas dusting sprays are often incorrectly referred to as “compressed air” or “canned air.” These sprays, in fact, do not contain any air. The active ingredient of compressed gas dusting sprays is 1-1, difluoroethane (or “DFE”). DFE is a refrigerant-based propellant often used as a coolant in air conditioners and refrigerators.

When added to other products (like shaving cream or hair spray, for example), the DFE acts to propel the product out of the can. In the case of compressed gas dusting sprays, the DFE is the main product that is in the can and that comes out of the can. “Huffing” these sprays can have deadly consequences, resulting in death and severe injuries.

What are the Effects of Huffing and Dusting Spray Abuse?

DFE is not a harmless gas. Intentionally inhaling the gas, known as “huffing” or “dusting,” causes a near-immediate narcotic-like intoxicating effect for a brief period of time that will often cause the inhaler to pass out nearly instantly.

Dusting can cause a sense of euphoria that lasts only minutes, but can be prolonged by continued use. Dusting provides a cheap and very accessible alternative to alcohol, marijuana, and other substances. 

The euphoric effect of dusting is often followed by dizziness, loss of coordination, control, suffocation, loss of consciousness, and death.

We are seeing substantial evidence of widespread abuse of this product nationwide because, not only is it very cheap relative to other drugs, but it can be easily purchased without restrictions and in any quantity in most jurisdictions right off of the retailer’s shelf.

This makes the product easily accessible to children and adolescents. In fact, approximately 9% of people in the United States over 12 years old have misused products like compressed gas dusting sprays for their intoxicating effects. This is a nationwide epidemic and the topic of many lawsuits.

Can someone be injured, or killed, by dusting sprays even if they have never used the product?

Yes.  The harmful effects caused by inhaling dusting sprays containing DFE extend well beyond just the person inhaling the product.

When a person inhales the product while driving, for example, they often lose consciousness or coordination and lose control of their vehicle, striking pedestrians or other vehicles.

This results in catastrophic injuries and death to innocent bystanders, devastating the lives of many people and their families. We believe that dozens—if not more—of these tragic incidents occur every year throughout the country. 

We also believe that the companies that make dusting sprays know that people are being killed and injured. We believe manufacturers such as 3M, who produce “Dust-Off” and “Ultra Duster” keyboard dusters, have failed to take effective measures to prevent people from intentionally inhaling their products.

Many huffing lawsuits have been filed for those who have been harmed in a car accident caused by this dangerous product. Many are unaware that they may be able to seek financial compensation through a lawsuit.

What should I do if I, or someone I know, have been injured or killed by a driver who has been huffing compressed gas dusting sprays?

Call us today at 1.888.563.6527.  At Robins Kaplan, our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience pursuing lawsuits, taking cases to trial, holding negligent parties accountable for their actions, and seeking the maximum possible compensation for our clients.

Year after year, our trial attorneys have been recognized for achieving significant recoveries for our clients. Our lawyers have appeared on CBS NewsGood Morning America (ABC), Dateline NBC, and other news programs and have been consistently named "Super Lawyers," and "Best Lawyers in America."*

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a driver who was under the influence of compressed air, our experienced attorneys can help you seek compensation.

Call us at 1.888.563.6527 or complete our free case evaluation form.

Dusting Injuries Frequently Asked Questions

Tara D. Sutton

Partner

Chair, National Mass Tort Group;
Member of the Executive Board

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