The first clue that a man had been inhaling Ultra Duster was when police found him passed out in the woods on Sept. 14 with three cans of the compressed air product lying nearby, according to Police Officer Aaron Dilks of the St. Louis County Police Department's Fenton Precinct.
The man ultimately was arrested for returning three times to Walmart, 953 Gravois Bluffs Blvd., Fenton, before he was finally able to steal two cans of Ultra Duster. For those familiar with huffing, Ultra Duster is a well-known source of a quick high. Its primary use is to clean dust and particles from computer keyboards and other electronic equipment.
The website for Ultra Duster, warns about possible misuse of its product, and even indicates that a "bitterant" has been added "that discourages potential abusive and misusage of the product by making its contents unpleasant to inhale."
The active ingredient is Ultra Duster is difluoroethane, a substance MedicineNet.com indicates can cause mild to severe reactions when inhaled, including "drowsiness, lightheadedness and loss of inhibition. Further use can lead to dizziness, hallucinations or delusions, belligerence, apathy and impaired judgment. Long-term inhalant abusers can suffer damaging health consequences including depression and mood changes, weight loss, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability and weakness."
In addition, the website reports "More serious consequences can include permanent damage to the brain and other organs or even death. Sudden cardiac death from fatal cardiac arrhythmias has been reported even in teen inhalant abusers."