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What is in computer duster?
Q: What is computer duster, exactly? I've heard that it contains NO2 and also that it contains Oxygen. Are there any places that show FACTS about it? (Most places just tell the story about the 4 girls in the car crash)

A: Computer duster is the term used for products sold in cans that expel a gas when the trigger is pressed. They are also called "canned air" sometimes, but the point of the product is to dust-off sensitive electronics without touching them.

It is important to note that NO2, is Nitrogen Dioxide, an acrid, brown, poison gas, although it is often confused with Nitrous Oxide (N2O) in writing.

The gas that comes out of them is neither Oxygen nor Nitrous oxide. It is usually a fluorenated low weight hydrocarbon, such as tetrafluorethane, chlorodiflouromethane or another similar gas. What they're looking for is a material which is a liquid when pressurized (at room temperature) but which is a gas when not pressurized. Because it is not intended for human consumption, there is no consistency to what is used by different companies, as long as the gas pressurizes in a cannister well enough to create the blowing effect that the product is sold for.

The confusion may arise because the propellant used to pressurize whip-cream cans sold at grocery stores is Nitrous Oxide, but we do not believe that any computer duster products contain Nitrous Oxide.

The effects of inhaling these light weight hydrocarbons sold in duster products are a combination of direct action and oxygen deprivation. They include giggling, tunnel vision, reduced coordination, blacking out, etc.

Just as with the Nitrous Oxide in "whippets", if you breathe something like computer duster straight, you are both depriving yourself of oxygen and exposing yourself to the chemical. While (medical grade) nitrous has been tested and approved for use in humans, the chemicals in computer duster have not, and especially not for repetitive use. Both research and anecdotal evidence suggest that repetitive use can cause brain and other neurological damage.



Asked By : Duster
Answered By : psilo
Published Date : 4 / 9 / 2001
Last Edited Date : 12 / 27 / 2006
Question ID : 2706

Categories: [ Health ] [ Inhalants ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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