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Is automotive nitrous oxide safe for human use?
Q: Is the nitrous oxide that can be bought in containers at "speed shops" or auto part dealers safe for humans, and if so, are special permits or licensure required for purchase?

A: No, automotive grade Nitrous Oxide is not suitable for human use because it contains sulfur dioxide and other impurities which are fine in an engine, but not in the lungs. In addition to tasting horrible, these chemical can be very harmful to your lungs. In most places, no licenses or permits are required to buy automotive Nitrous Oxide - but the only thing it is good for is to use in your car.

The most available form of Nitrous Oxide which is acceptable for use as an inhalant is food grade Nitrous Oxide cartridges ("whippets"). Whippets, which are intended for use as a propellant in the food industry, are considerably more pure than automotive Nitrous, but not as clean as medical grade Nitrous. Various brands appear to vary considerably in their purity, but in general they don't contain any deliberately added harmful chemicals.

Both medical and food grade Nitrous Oxide are also sold in tanks, but the sale of these tanks is generally restricted to what are considered legitimate uses. Most companies who sell or fill tanks will refuse to sell to suspicious customers, or limit their sales to companies.

Asked By : jungledog
Answered By : murple
Published Date : 2 / 19 / 2001
Last Edited Date : 2 / 19 / 2001
Question ID : 2281

Categories: [ Nitrous Oxide ] [ Health ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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