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Aerosol safety

colourful aerosol cans

Always use in moderation and in a well ventilated space. Follow the product instructions carefully.

What's the problem?

Because aerosols are so readily available, the associated product risks  may not be immediately obvious. Millions of people use aerosols safely every day but accidents can happen. People should familiarise themselves with the effects of using large quantities of aerosol sprays, including products like deodorant or perfume. As young people head into adulthood they will have their own aerosol products like deodorants.  It is important that parents explain the risks of these products to young people and make sure that they are not being used excessively


Are aerosols dangerous?

Aerosols and aerosol deodorants are not dangerous, but they do contain ingredients that can be harmful in large quantities. They are also flammable products. People need to be aware of the risks of using them. Aerosols are highly regulated products that comply with strict legislation and millions are sold and used every day. However, as with many over-the-counter products, they need to be used in accordance with the guidelines, in well-ventilated places and in moderation to avoid accidental inhalation and flammability risks. The following advice will help to ensure that aerosols can be used safely.


Aerosols are pressurised so please remember:

  • Do not put aerosols on a bonfire, even when they are empty, because they will explode and may cause injury
  • Do not pierce aerosols, even when they are empty, because there is always some pressure, and possibly some of the product left. It may be flammable or cause injury if you pierce the can
  • Keep aerosols out of the sun and in a cold dry place away from heat. The pressure inside the can increases greatly in the heat and may cause it to burst
  • You should never keep aerosols inside cars because even in winter temperatures can rise quickly. You should keep them in the boot

Aerosols contain a concentrated product so:

  • You only need to use them in short bursts unless the instructions say otherwise
  • If you are using aerosol cleaning or maintenance products in a confined space, like a cupboard or under the sink, two or three second bursts should be enough. Make sure that you open nearby windows or doors before you start this task
  • Do not spray aerosols near your eyes as the contents may irritate them

The contents of an aerosol may be flammable so:

  • Do not spray it on, or near a naked flame or fire
  • Do not smoke when you are using an aerosol or just afterwards
  • Do not spray near any heat or source of ignition (such as a pilot light or candle)
  • keep aerosols away from children

Aerosol abuse

Volatile Substance Abuse, often called "sniffing" or solvent abuse, is extremely dangerous and can kill instantly. Some young people do this to get intoxicated on the fumes of these products.

The wide range of products which are abused are readily available in the homes and shops. They include:

  • Butane lighter fuels
  • Aerosols
  • Adhesives

Advice on solvent abuse is available from the National Drugs Helpline "Talk to Frank" Honest information about drugs | FRANK ( or Re-Solv Solvent abuse advice and support - Re-Solv: UK's solvent abuse charity

For more information about aerosols in general contact the British Aerosol Manufacturers Assosication (BAMA):

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