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This study investigated characteristics and trends of inhalant misuse reported to United States poison centers from 2001 through 2021. Using data from the National Poison Data System and the United States Census Bureau, analyses were conducted of demographic and other characteristics, inhalant category, level of health care received, and medical outcome, and population-based rate trends were assessed. United States poison centers managed 26,446 inhalant misuse cases from 2001 through 2021, which equaled an annual average of 1,259 cases. Most inhalant misuse involved males (73.0%) or a single substance (91.0%). Teenagers accounted for 39.7% of cases. Among inhalant misuse cases, 41.4% were associated with a serious medical outcome and 27.7% were admitted to a healthcare facility. Overall, the rate of inhalant misuse per 1,000,000 United States population increased by 9.6% (P = 0.0031) from 5.33 in 2001 to 5.84 in 2010, followed by a decrease to 2.60 (-55.5%, P < 0.001) in 2021. "Freon and other propellants" showed the largest change in rate, increasing from 1.28 in 2001 to 3.55 in 2010 (P < 0.001), before decreasing to 1.36 in 2021 (P < 0.001). This trend was driven by the 13-19-year-old age group, and the trend reversal in 2010 among teenagers coinciding with an almost complete ban on FreonTM by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which it implemented under the Clean Air Act. Although the annual rate of inhalant misuse reported to United States poison centers has been decreasing since 2010, it remains an important public health problem. The United States Environmental Protection Agency's 2010 regulation of FreonTM may have been an important contributor to the dramatic trend reversal and decrease in inhalant misuse rates starting in that year. This may exemplify the potential effect that regulatory efforts can have on public health.


Raymond L Hogge, Henry A Spiller, Sandhya Kistamgari, Marcel J Casavant, Natalie Rine, Nichole L Michaels, Motao Zhu, Gary A Smith. Inhalant misuse reported to America's Poison Centers, 2001-2021. Clinical toxicology (Philadelphia, Pa.). 2023 Jun;61(6):453-462

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PMID: 37358036

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