This is a follow-up to the original article about poppers and their ability to cause permanent eye damage. If you haven’t read the original article, please do, as it details the actual medical way the damage is being done.
Isn’t this all just because of Europe using isopropyl nitrite after 2007?
No. Isopropyl nitrite is not solely to blame for the eye damage. While it’s true that after 2007, isobutyl nitrite was phased out due to it being a suspected carcinogen in Europe, damage has been linked to other members of the alkyl nitrite group as well.
The first well documented case is from 2004, with isobutyl nitrite identified as the agent. This was before isopropyl enteted the market in Europe: Transient visual loss after amyl Isobutyl nitrite abuse (Seminars in Ophthalmology. Volume 31, 2016 – Issue 5)
Why is this happening now?
Poppers have been used for decades, but all well-documented cases are from recent years. One explanation may be that the damage is elusive in a sense that it’s generally not easy to diagnose in a normal optical test. The golden standard for poppers-related eye damage testing is optical coherence tomography, a relatively recent diagnostic procedure: invented in 1991, modern OCT high-resolution machines didn’t enter the medical market until 2000.
I’m only using Jungle Juice from Canada, so I’ll be safe?
No, you won’t be. The contents of poppers vary widely and they are not subject to the same kind of strict quality control as medicines and food. They are often vaguely labelled, and in reality may contain a mixture of several chemicals.
I only use poppers very rarely, so I’ll be safe?
No, you won’t be. There are several documented cases where usage has been very infrequent.