The Uttarakhand High Court ordered state government to completely ban on the sale of whitener in the state following the death of a teenager from sniffing an excess of it.
The High Court issued the order by taking suo motu cognisance of the death of the 14-year-old boy due to sniffing excess whitener for a kick.
Besides, the high court also ordered that items such as Feviquick, Iodex should not be sold to children below 18 years of age in view of prevalent abuse of these among teenagers.
What are whiteners?
Whiteners are mainly used for erasing ink on paper and as shoe whitener. It contains volatile aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons such toluene and trychloroethane which are intoxicating chemicals.
What is whitener-inhalation addiction?
- In whitener-inhalation addiction, people inhale the whitener i.e. intoxicating chemicals present in it.
- By doing this for some time, it makes the sniffer dizzy, high and disconnected. It has a hallucinatory effect on the sniffer. Thus, it is the first step to drug addiction or alcoholism.
- The whitener abuse is generally seen among the youths. The problem has been compounded by its easy procurement, negligible cost and its lack of odour.
What are side-effects of whitener-inhalation addiction on health?
- Whiteners contain hydrocarbons which is deadly solvents that can infuse easily with the blood and can affect the central nervous system of a person.
- Some of the reported symptoms of solvent addiction are uncharacteristic behaviours such as mood swings and insomnia and it may results in kidney, liver and lung damage
What measures need to be taken to stop it?
- Government should completely ban the sale of products that contain intoxicating chemicals, like the whitener.