As part of a campaign to raise awareness about the risks of misusing industrial, food and medical gases, the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) has updated its ‘L7, The Dangers of Misusing Gases’ guide.

The leaflet, which is free to download, points out the hazards involved when gases are misused in public sectors such as the food, drink and entertainment industries.

The trade body highlights major areas of concern such as helium (He) misuse when inhaled from balloons, the mishandling of dry ice and exploitation of cryo-cookery in the report, which are often depicted in the media as harmless fun.

“All users need to understand the properties and hazards of gases”

Doug Thornton, BCGA CEO

Potentially fatal if inhaled, He displaces oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the lungs, dry ice can cause asphyxiation in confined spaces if used incorrectly and liquid nitrogen (N2), which is used to rapidly cool food and drink in cryo-cooling, can cause severe stomach burns if ingested.

The association’s CEO Doug Thornton underlined, “All users need to understand the properties and hazards of gases and those who are not properly trained and/or not using protective equipment should steer well clear.”

“Industrial, food and medical gases are used widely in a number of sectors and, when handled correctly, they provide an invaluable resource,” Thornton emphasised. “Our members take great care to advise customers on the safe use of their products and to ensure users are aware of the dangers.”

The BCGA updated its L7 document (Revision 4: 2016) in September to further highlight the dangers of misusing gases.