Woman’s death could be linked to use of computer dust cleaner

Computer dust cleaner
Photo: WKRN

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A word of warning Tuesday night about a common household product that may have led to the death of a Dover, Delaware, woman right here in Middle Tennessee.

Murfreesboro police are investigating the woman’s sudden death, and it could be related to the use of computer dust cleaner.

Rachel Hankins, 26, was found dead in room 233 of the Motel 6 on Chaffin Place in Murfreesboro on Saturday by her boyfriend.

He told police he slept in his truck the night before because the two had gotten into an argument.

Computer dust cleaner
Photo: WKRN

“The argument was over her use of the use of inhalants,” said Murfreesboro police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans.

An empty can of computer dust cleaner was still in the room.

“Certainly, misusing this product is not only dangerous, it’s illegal,” Evans said. “In this case it resulted in this young lady’s death that will be confirmed by the medical examiner’s office pending an unattended death investigation.”

Police did not say what type of duster spray the woman used, and they say it doesn’t really matter; all of it is dangerous.

“It’s a very, very dangerous way to get high,” Evans said. “It’s a very dangerous and deadly way to basically kill off brain cells and starve your lungs of oxygen.”

Back in July, police responded to another Murfreesboro hotel after a man was found unconscious.

Eleven cans of Ultra Duster Cleaner were found inside the room. The man was still holding the can with a tip in his mouth.

He survived. At that time, doctors had warned death was a possibility.

“There are a small proportion of people that will suffer sudden cardiac death,” St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital ER doctor Brady Allen told News 2. “Long term consequences can involve neurologic problems, difficulty learning, and problems with memory, things that can last a life time.”

Police said the misuse of these type aerosols not only affects the user, but everyone close to them.

“It’s painful for the families that have to live with the aftermath of someone using these products to get high,” Evans said. “The wake is that it leaves behind is devastating for families.”

Both doctors and police said the use of inhalants can be just as addictive as drugs and alcohol.

If you know anyone using aerosols to get high, they urge you try to get them help immediately.

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