Teen Dies From Inhaling Canned Air

No one saw it coming - how a house hold product changed a family forever.

"I mean as soon as I walk in the door I usually yell 'Hello,' because I usually have kids scattered everywhere," said father of four Dale 'Doc' Lingle.

But on July 18th, Dale and step-mother Michelle Lingle's third child Codie didn't come out to say hi. That's when Dale went to check on Codie. After knocking on his door several times with no answer, Dale went in.

"He was laying in his bed, facing the wall, and he looked like he was sleeping. And I said Codie it's two, there is no reason to be in bed at two o'clock, you need to get up and I reached over and I grabbed his shoulder and I flipped him over, and Codie was gray and stiff," remembers Dale.

Codie, a healthy 16 year old, was dead.

"They put Codie in the black bag, and I kissed him on his forehead, they zipped up the black bag, and brought him down the stairs, out the front and to the mortuary," said Dale.

It was time for answers. But they didn't come.

A toxicology report showed no signs of drugs. For two months, the Lingle family wondered. Then, Codie's certificate of death finally came with answers.

"The cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, due to inhalant abuse," said Dale. "And the scary thing is, Codie's death was immediate, he was brain dead within 5 minutes."

Investigators found canned air in his room, a product used to clean computer keyboards. Codie died instantly after trying to inhale it.

"The fact that if you inhaled that it could killed you, I had no idea," said both Dale and Michelle.

The act of inhaling the chemical is called dusting. The reality is that it is often deadly the first time; cheap high more dangerous than Russian Roulette.

The even more unfortunate part is that the warning signs a child is dusting are not readily apparent.

First, keep an eye if large stashes of canned air start showing up in a child room. Or, if empty cans seem to be present in their trash cans. Finally if cans start disappearing at a rapid rate.

The bottles have warning signs in small letters and the product makers often even put chemicals that make the taste bitter. But to the Lingle family, whose son will forever sit on a shelf, those warnings aren't clear enough.

Many stores are switching over so that people must be 18 to buy the product. But there are stores that will sell to a person of any age.

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