Petrol-inhalation in aboriginal towns. Its remedy: the homelands movement

Med J Aust. 1979 Sep 8;2(5):221-4.


Regular petrol-inhaling involves 50 children ("sniffers"), aged nine to 14 years, at the Aboriginal town of Maningrida--over one-third of resident children of this age. Children of two closely related clan-language groups comprise the majority of inhalers. Similarly, at the town of Galiwinku the children of two deprived clans are involved almost exclusively. These are the only clans in eastern Arnhem Land without outstations on their homelands. Revitalization of these clans appears the only effective method of containing the practice. Petrol-inhaling is associated with delinquency, low body weight, venereal disease, and elevated levels of blood lead. The effectiveness of past remedial action is in doubt.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Australia
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Lead Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Petroleum*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Mobility
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Syphilis / epidemiology
  • Urban Health*


  • Petroleum