A NSW mother who lost her son six months ago is calling for more to be done to warn young people about the dangers of chroming.
Bradley Mair was 16-years-old and at a sleepover with friends when the group engaged in a deadly game of “Russian roulette”, trying ‘chroming’ for the first time.
Chroming is a form of substance abuse, which entails inhaling common household, industrial and medical products.
In addition to aerosol spray, like deodorant, other inhalants like chrome-based paint, glue and petrol can also be used and the Drug and Alcohol Foundation warns chroming can result in long-term effects or a sudden death.
Mother Corinne Mair explained to A Current Affair the group was not aware of the dangers of chroming and says Bradley wound not have partaken in the act if he knew the consequences could be deadly.
"[He] and his mates made a silly decision and it cost him his life," Ms Mair told A Current Affair.
She said she had never heard of the practise, nor had any of her friends and family.
"Basically the boys were just playing Russian roulette, even though they didn't know about it," she said.
"They'd seen it on social media or had been exposed to it somewhere, so I think one of the kids had a can and they inhaled it and Bradley suffered a severe allergic reaction to the chemicals in Rexona and he had a fatal heart attack."
An online petition by Ms Mair has been set up calling for a formal inquest to investigate six deaths linked to Rexona.
“My son was a fit and healthy young man and died after the toxic chemicals in Rexona caused his heart to stop. Bradley was the sixth Australian child to lose their life as a direct result from inhaling Rexona,” the petition says.
“Rexona have acknowledged that their product has been linked to these deaths yet no public education or correct labelling/branding and have decided to twist this into a social issue instead of a full issue of toxicity with their product.”
Bradley’s older brother Koby told A Current Affair the friends who were with Bradley that night told him it was the first time any of them had tried chroming.
Ms Mair says she blames Rexona for her son’s death, although she acknowledges her son “had a part to play”, and she has met with executives from the brand’s parent company, Unilever.
She explained the Unilever product had been linked to six deaths including Bradley’s, something the parent company acknowledged.
Ms Mair also alleged the company said the deaths were a “social issue” due to the children who had died came from “bad backgrounds”, instead of it being an issue relating to the toxicity of the product.
Unilever provided a statement to A Current Affair, confirming they had met with Ms Mair and said this was an issue facing the entire aerosol industry, saying 90 per cent of aerosol products available are being “misused for the purpose of chroming”.
The statement provided also says Unilever recognises the role the company has to play and it works with health authorities, police and retailers to find ways to minimise harm.
Ms Mair, along with Nattallee Allan, a family friend whose home was where the group of boys participated in chroming, says education is essential.
“A product so toxic it can kill you instantly needs to be regulated,” Ms Mair wrote on the petition.
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