NEW JERSEY – Officials from New Jersey Poison Control are urging the public to steer clear of “Dragon’s Breath” snacks, which are causing serious injury to the mouth and internal organs when ingested.
These snacks, commonly known as “Dragon’s Breath”, “Heaven’s Breath” or “Nitro Puff” snacks, contain liquid nitrogen in them. The liquid nitrogen in the product allows you to exhale vapor through your mouth and nose, resembling a dragon. Despite this interesting feature, the liquid nitrogen infused into the snack has the potential to cause burns and breathing problems, officials said.
The products allow you to breathe out “smoke” because the mixture of cold liquid nitrogen inside a warm mouth produces vapor. While other products can contain liquid nitrogen, it is essential that it evaporates before consumption to be safe. When added at the point of sale, any leftover liquid nitrogen can cause frostbite-like injury.
“Swallowing liquid nitrogen can be life-threatening,” said Diane Calello, MD, NJ Poison Control Center Executive and Medical Director, Rutgers NJ Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine.
There have been several reported incidents involving liquid nitrogen, including one teen who drank liquid nitrogen while making ice cream. The teen suffered long-term damage to his esophagus and stomach.
“Our most recent case involved a female who required evaluation in a hospital emergency room after ingesting two Dragon’s Breath puffs. This patient experienced what she described as severe acid reflux,” she added.
Consumers can experience breathing problems with asthma-like symptoms, as well as frostbite-like burns to the inside of the mouth.
According to Bruce Ruck, Managing Director of the NJ Poison Control Center, consumers should also take caution when handling liquid nitrogen products, which can cause burns to the skin.
“We are alerting the public today of the serious health hazards posed by these products in the hopes that we can prevent further injury,” said Calello. “Avoid products where liquid nitrogen is added at the point of sale, it is not worth the risk.”
The US Food and Drug Administration has also just released a safety alert in response to these concerns.
If you or someone else is exposed to liquid nitrogen, call the NJ Poison Control Center to get the medical help or information at 1-800-222-1222.