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(Date of issue: May 2015, Version: 2)

This is a UKTIS monograph for use by health care professionals. For case-specific advice please contact UKTIS on 0344 892 0909. To report an exposure please download and complete a pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

A corresponding patient information leaflet on butane use in pregnancy is available at www.medicinesinpregnancy.org.


Butane is a flammable gas used as fuel for portable stoves and cigarette lighters, and as a propellant in aerosols. 

Data following acute exposure in pregnancy are limited to two case reports, both of which document significant fetal harm in association with maternal toxicity and fetal anoxia. No studies have assessed fetal risk following chronic butane exposure in pregnancy. 

There are no published guidelines on the management of butane poisoning during pregnancy. Where maternal toxicity occurs, there is potential for an increased risk of fetal toxicity. The patient should be managed as for the non-pregnant patient.

Following exposure to butane in a pregnant patient, maternal toxicity is likely to be a major determinant of risk to the fetus. However, due to a lack of data concerning the teratogenicity of butane, it is not currently possible to state that an absence of maternal toxicity excludes the possibility of adverse events occurring in the developing fetus.

As with all chemicals, unnecessary exposure to butane should be avoided. However, where occupational exposure is unavoidable, precautions should be taken to ensure that exposure is well within the recommended exposure limits and not associated with toxic symptoms. Normal use of products containing butane as a propellant would not be expected to pose a hazard.

Risk to the fetus and the need for additional fetal monitoring following maternal exposure to butane needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Discussion with UKTIS is recommended in all cases.

This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use full UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org to be sure you are using the most up-to-date version. The summaries of these monographs are openly available on UKTIS.org.

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to health care professionals at www.toxbase.org.

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org or UKTIS.org to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.