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Suffolk health department issues foam party advisory

Spring break revelers participate in a foam party

Spring break revelers participate in a foam party at a nightclub in the resort city of Cancun, Mexico. Participants in foam parties should use caution, especially because ingredients in the foam can irritate skin and eyes, the Suffolk County Department of Health said in an advisory. Credit: AP

Participants in foam parties should use caution, especially because ingredients in the foam can irritate skin and eyes, the Suffolk County Department of Health said Thursday in an advisory.

Health Services Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said that chemicals used in producing the foam are often similar to those used in soaps and shampoos and can pose health risks.

"Ask yourself a few basic questions," Tomarken said. "Are their electrical appliances in the area where the foam is being sprayed? Are there obstacles that may cause injury? Is alcohol being consumed? Is there glass present? Is there supervision for youngsters?

"Use good judgment before entering the foam spraying venue or allowing a minor to enter."

According to the advisory from the department and a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, products used to produce foam may contain ingredients similar to those in soaps and shampoos, such as sodium lauryl sulfate. Some foams are proprietary, and can contain chemicals, chemical compositions, and concentrations that are unknown.

Risks can include eye injuries, skin irritation or rash, injury from objects hidden by the foam, falling due to slippery flooring, electric shock and unwanted physical contact caused by decreased visibility.

Precautions can include having participants wear goggles, rinsing faces and eyes with water frequently, limiting time in the foam and taking breaks, and exiting the area if the foam gets above the waist.

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More information on foam parties and other health issues is at http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/departments/healthservices.aspx

 

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