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Public advisory

Various dangerous Poppers products found at Calgary retailer

Starting date:
June 5, 2013
Posting date:
June 5, 2013
Type of communication:
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Unauthorized products
General Public
Identification number:


Eight products labelled as leather cleaners or liquid incense contain, or allege to contain, alkyl nitrites were being sold by Saints N Sinners Ltd, 1715 Centre Street N.W., Calgary, Alberta. These products, commonly known as “poppers” are used by consumers to get “high” and may pose serious risks to health if they are inhaled or swallowed.

What you should do

  • Consult your healthcare practitioner if you have used any of these products.
  • If you have been harmed by using any of these products, report it to Health Canada.
  • Contact Health Canada’s toll-free line at 1-800-267-9675 with questions or complaints about these products.

Who is affected

Canadians who have used any of these products, particularly people with certain medical conditions (including recent head trauma, bleeding into the head, glaucoma, heart disease) and those taking certain medications (particularly drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction, and other drugs such as high blood pressure medications, certain migraine drugs, and high doses of aspirin) or illicit drugs.


Alkyl nitrites, such as amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite, are considered drugs under the Food and Drugs Act, and require an approval by Health Canada to be legally sold in Canada. Health Canada is not aware of credible evidence confirming that alkyl nitrites are legitimately used in consumer products such as leather cleaners, room odourizers or liquid incense.  Health Canada's view is that even though these products are labelled as consumer products, they are manufactured and sold so that users can “get a high”.

Products containing alkyl nitrites could pose serious risks, including death, to Canadians, depending on the amount used, how frequently they are used and how long they are used for, as well as the person’s health and the other medications they may be taking. Since it is difficult to control how much is inhaled, people can accidentally overdose. Swallowing these products can lead to serious medical complications and may be fatal.

Serious side effects can include: potentially life-threatening low blood pressure, especially when used with drugs to treat erectile dysfunction (sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil); rapid or irregular heart rhythm; and a decrease in the blood's ability to carry oxygen (methemoglobinemia) when used at high doses or repeatedly over a long period. Other side effects include difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, loss of consciousness (fainting or passing out), respiratory depression, and damage to the liver or kidney.

People with glaucoma, recent head trauma or bleeding into the head are also at risk, as are those using certain drugs for high blood pressure, migraines, and high doses of aspirin.

Alcohol may make the side effects of “poppers” worse, as could their use with illicit drugs. Inhaled alkyl nitrites can cause harm to the fetus during pregnancy. Users of inhaled alkyl nitrites have also suffered burns as the vapour is highly flammable.

Report health or safety concerns

• Call toll-free at 1-866-234-2345

• Visit MedEffect Canada's web page on Adverse Reaction Reporting for information on how to report online, by mail or by fax.

Unauthorized dangerous health products found at Calgary retailer

2013-05-30 | Health products


Marketed leather cleaners and liquid incense are being used to get high: Poses serious dangers to Canadians

2013-05-16 | Health products


Poppers sold across Canada pose serious risks

2013-06-27 | Health products


Media enquiries

Health Canada

(613) 957-2983

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991

1-866 225-0709

What Health Canada is doing

Health Canada has followed-up with Saints N Sinners Ltd, 1715 Centre Street N.W., Calgary, Alberta and removed the products from sale. Health Canada is also working with the Canada Border Services Agency to stop any shipments of any of these products from entering Canada.


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