Inside the horror chrome craze: Parents reveal their heartbreak as teenage girl, 13, tragically dies after inhaling toxic household chemicals to get high
- 13-year-old Melbourne girl dies from chrome plating
- Chrome plating is the inhalation of fumes from aerosol cans
- Esra Haynes went into cardiac arrest
The grief-stricken parents of a 13-year-old girl who tragically died when she inhaled toxic chemicals to get high say their “mission in life” is now to warn others of the dangers of “chrome plating.”
Esra Haynes went into cardiac arrest on Easter Saturday after inhaling fumes from an aerosol can.
The gifted 8th grade student and athlete who attended Lilydale High School in suburban North East Melbourne could not be brought back to life.
The alarming trend of ingesting chromium-based paint and other household chemicals, including deodorant and even bug spray, has claimed the lives of more than a dozen young Australians since 2009, with regulators and health experts scrambling to get the problem under control.
Esra’s parents Paul and Andrea Haynes want to make sure other kids don’t fall into the “trap of doing this crazy thing.”
Esra Haynes, aged 13, tragically died after inhaling the intoxicating fumes from an aerosol can
WHAT IS ‘CHROME’?
- When a person inhales solvents or other household chemicals to get high.
- Chrome plating makes the user feel sleepy, relaxed and happy, excited or nervous, uncoordinated and less inhibited in taking risks.
- If a person inhales chemicals for too long, they can experience brain damage, damage to internal organs, anger problems and changes in their thinking patterns.
Source: Reach Out
“There is no question that this is going to be our crusade,” Mr Haynes told the Announce sun.
“No matter how many times you lead a horse to water, anyone can drag them away. It’s not something she would have done alone.’
Mr Haynes said the loss has left their family completely ‘broken’, with Esra’s three siblings, Imogen, Seth and Charlie ‘shattered’ that she is no longer here.
From an early age, Esra showed tremendous promise as an athlete, leading her team to a Queensland national aerobics champion in Year 6.
She also raced BMX bikes alongside her brothers and was voted co-captain of her under-14 netball team.
“Esra was determined, fun, sassy and talented. She will be greatly missed by her teammates, coaches and the wider community of our club,” the Montrose Football Netball Club said in a heartfelt statement.
Her distraught friends describe her as “the only girl who can put a smile on anyone’s face by any means.”
“There hasn’t been a day in the past three years that you haven’t made my day with your contagious laugh and beautiful smile,” her friend Abbey wrote on Facebook in a touching tribute.
“My heart hurts and it doesn’t feel real knowing I have to say goodbye to you Esra. ‘You are so young. You left too early.’
Esra was a promising athlete who led her team to a national aerobics champion and enjoyed BMX cycling
“I keep trying to make you proud. and keep doing the things that made you happy. I love you endlessly and miss you Esra. Rest in paradise my dear.’
The Victorian Department of Education provides guidance to students and staff.
“Lilydale High School and the Department of Education extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of an eighth grade student who passed away over the weekend,” the department said.
“Our hearts go out to the families, community and school affected by this tragic incident and the school will continue to provide necessary support to all affected.”
Coles, Kmart and Woolworths locked their aerosol products behind a glass screen in the Outback town of Mount Isa in a 2021 trial, where kids as young as seven found them sniffing them
Part of the reason chrome plating has become so rampant in various parts of Australia is the ease with which young people can purchase spray cans.
In a 2021 trial, Coles, Kmart and Woolworths enclosed their aerosol products behind a glass screen in the Outback town of Mount Isa, where children as young as seven were found to inhale the toxic fumes daily.
The practice is now commonplace in Queensland stores in Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast, as well as many supermarkets in the Northern Territory, WA and SA.
Chrome-based spray paint in all Australian jurisdictions is also restricted to anyone under the age of 18.