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Butane Gas

Volume 127: debated on Friday 12 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has any records concerning death or personal injury caused through the inhalation of butane gas.

It is not possible to give exact information relating specifically to injury or death associated with the inhalation of butane gas. Mortality data are available, but cannot precisely separate the category required. The tables show the most reliable currently available information.Table 1 shows the number of deaths the underlying cause of which relates to the use of liquefied petroleum gas distributed in mobile containers. Most, but not necessarily all, of these products contain butane; in addition, it is not possible to be sure whether butane was inhaled in each case.Table 2 shows data taken from a continuing study undertaken by the department of clinical epidemiology and social medicine of St. George's hospital medical school, London, of deaths associated with the abuse of volatile substances. This study collects data from a variety of sources, including death registrations and a survey of coroners' findings; the resulting data relate only to those cases where it appeared that the use of volatile substances was deliberate. As with table 1, most but not necessarily all the cases shown involved the use of butane.

Table 1: Number of deaths with an underlying cause relating to poisoning by liquefied petroleum gas distributed in mobile containers, England and Wales, 1980–86.
Number
YearICD (9) E868.0ICD (9) E981.1
1980180
1981121
198261
1983170
1984240
1985181
1986161
International Classification of Disease (ICD) E868.0: Accidental poisoning by liquefied petroleum gas distributed in mobile containers.ICD E981.1: as above, but undetermined whether accidentally or purposely inflicted.
Table 2: Number of deaths associated with the deliberate abuse of gas fuels, England and Wales, 1980–85.
YearNumber
19809
198111
19827
198313
198427
198522

Source: National Study of deaths associated with the abuse of volatile substances, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Social Medicine, St. George's Hospital, London.