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J Forensic Leg Med. 2010 Nov;17(8):439-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2010.09.004. Epub 2010 Oct 18.

Self inflicted death following inhalation and ingestion of Builders Polyurethane expandable foam.

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  • 1Department of Histopathology, Scarborough Hospital, Woodlands Drive, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO12 6QL, United Kingdom.


Builders Polyurethane (PU) expandable foam is a product used to fill voids and provide insulation in the building industry. It is easily available from DIY and hardware stores. Other uses include pest control. It can produce fumes, while curing, which can be toxic to humans, or induce asthma and there are reports of polyurethane foam being combustible unless a fire retardant is incorporated. Death due to can explosion when heated has occurred. A literature review revealed one definite case of attempted suicide, one possible attempt by ingestion of Builders PU expandable foam and one accidental non fatal injection of such foam into the lower urinary tract. There is one report of accidental non fatal inhalation of foam. To our knowledge this is the first case of fatal inhalation and ingestion of Builders Polyurethane expandable foam.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.

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