Because it is very ill-advised to intentionally inhale the fumes from a solvent cleaner such as poppers (a common street term), the most common reason someone is exposed to these fumes is when cleaning items in a space that is not well ventilated.  This exposure almost immediately results in involuntary muscle relaxation which is followed by increased blood flow and lower blood pressure. The decrease in blood pressure can make you dizzy and the increased blood flow can cause you to feel flushed in the face and genitals.  Many people find the sensation relaxing and pleasant, and since it relaxes muscles in the throat, vagina, and anus, it has been discovered that it makes certain sexual practices easier and more pleasant as well.

The most common side effect of popper use is a roaring headache. Some people are more prone to this problem than others. In our experience, headaches occur most likely with old poppers that should be replaced.

If you were to swallow a bottle of poppers, and you should NEVER ingest poppers, there is a very small risk of death.  But such consequences are extremely rare with only 23 popper related deaths reported between 1971 and 2009.

However, anyone with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PDD) must NEVER use poppers because the risk of death is much higher. This is a rare condition and if you have it you will have known so since you were a child as it is a genetic illness, not one that develops later in life.

In very rare cases there have been reports of impaired or lost vision but these effects were temporary and resolved on their own once the use of poppers was stopped. These concerns have only been reported from Europe and the popper formulas used there are different from those used in the United States so it is unlikely that similar issues would occur in the US.

As poppers dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure, other medications that have a similar effect, most notably medications for erectile dysfunction such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis), should never be mixed with poppers.  People on erectile dysfunction medications as well as medication for high blood pressure should also consult their prescribing physician or pharmacist about potentially negative interactions.

When cleaning with solvent cleaners of this type you should always wear gloves. Poppers can cause chemical burns if the come into contact with the skin and are not immediately washed off.

Because poppers are very flammable you must be very careful around open flames and smoking material.  The best idea is to keep lit smoking materials and other sources of ignition completely separate from poppers.

So, poppers have some risks but using common sense and guidance from experts like ourselves will allow you to use poppers, for the legitimate and legal uses only of course, with little to no risk to yourself or others.

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