The Grapevine

British Teen Dies From Too Much Deodorant Spray

Axe Bodyspray
A 16-year-old boy died last August from using too much spray-on deodorant, according to the coroner. Pixabay

Folkestone Magistrates’ Court in Kent, England held an inquest into the death of a 16-year-old boy last week, four months after he was found on the landing outside his room at a children's home. 

The inquest found that Thomas Townsend died on Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m. after he inhaled too much gas from a spray-on deodorantThe Telegraph reported. Paramedics were unable to revive him. “He sprayed it all over himself and succumbed to the effects of the gas,” the coroner Rachel Redman said, according to Kent Online.

The teen’s mother, Sally Townsend, said he would use the spray-on deodorant in lieu of bathing. And after police examined his room at the children's home near Folkestone, Kent, they found 42 cans of aerosol products, including deodorant and hair spray.

"He would not take showers but would stand there with a deodorant, and spray half the can on him,” his mother said. “Then he would spray after shave to cover up [the body odor].”

Townsend’s mother said he would go through one can a week.

The Environmental Working Group, an American organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, rates many commercial body sprays and deodorants, including Axe and Old Spice, as moderate-to-high health hazards.

Pathologist Dr. Kareem Aboualfa said the teen’s cause of death was a collapse of the circulatory system due to butane gas inhalation — there were no drinks or drugs in his system. Butane is a common ingredient in most body sprays and deodorants, and side effects from overexposure include headache, breathing difficulties, mood swings, and nausea.

According to the inquest, the teen lived in a foster home for five years before moving to the children’s home in February 2015. Although Townsend had a history of self-harm, he expressed no intention to commit suicide or abuse substances, The Telegraph reported. Therefore, his death was ruled accidental. The teen was supposed to start college weeks after his death and was looking forward to a career as a farrier.

Healthier alternatives to body sprays include baking soda mixed with a small amount of water or oil to absorb moisture, as well as beeswax, essential oils, or witch hazel, which have also been tried as alternatives to deodorant sprays.

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