New Qld push to stop children 'chroming'

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said "chroming" was a complex social issue.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said "chroming" was a complex social issue.

Queensland health officials are expected to meet with consumer goods giant Unilever and retailers in an attempt to put an end to children and teens who inhale dangerous household chemicals to get high.

Almost a hundred Queensland children, many of them aged between 10 and 15, were admitted to hospital as a result of "huffing" aerosols in the past year according to Health Minister Steven Miles.

About half of the 98 people admitted to hospital 141 times in the past were aged 10 to 15.

Dr Miles has asked the state's chief health officer to convene a roundtable to discuss strategies to end the practice.

These strategies could include reformulating chemicals, which has previously been successful in preventing the inhalation of petrol to get high.

Dr Miles told parliament on Wednesday Unilever had contacted him to acknowledge one of its products was being misused by young people.

"Chroming is a serious issue affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our community," he said.

He said the issue was a complex social issue which could not simply be legislated against.

In Queensland police have search and seizure powers if they suspect people possess chemicals for the purpose of or sale for chroming.

Dr Miles said the issue did not stop at the Queensland border.

"There is place for a national discussion about this," he said outside parliament.

He said there was no evidence the issue was on the increase, but he said that does not mean chroming shouldn't be tackled.

Unilever said it has been in contact with major retailers asking that their aerosol deodorants be contained in theft-reduction shelving in the most affected areas.

"This is an enormously complex issue affecting the entire aerosol industry with no simple solution," a statement from the company read.

"It requires an industry-wide approach and the actions of one manufacturer alone will not solve it."

Australian Associated Press