Suffolk County, NY - July 23, 2015 - Suffolk County Department of Health Services Commissioner James Tomarken, MD, MPH, MBA, MSW, today advised residents, especially parents and guardians, about foam parties/fests, gatherings where soapy foam is sprayed onto participants. At foam fests/events, the foam is distributed in a variety of manners, including from blowers on the ground or attached to the ceiling. Several feet of foam can accumulate. Foam events may occur in a variety of venues, and many do not have age restrictions.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, products used at these events to produce foam may contain ingredients similar to those in soaps and shampoos, such as sodium lauryl sulfate. Some formulations used at foam parties are proprietary, and chemicals, chemical compositions, and concentrations are unknown.
According to health officials, there is potential risk associated with foam parties/fests, including:
- Eye injuries, ranging from mild redness and irritation to corneal burns or abrasions, which can impair vision for many days;
- Skin irritation or rash;
- Injury from objects hidden by the foam;
- Falling due to the slippery dance floor;
- Electric shock;
- Unwanted physical contact due to decreased visibility caused by the foam.
“There are risks associated with foam parties,” said Dr. Tomarken. “We advise residents to assess the venue and look for possible dangers. Ask yourself a few basic questions. 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.”
Eye injuries resulting from foam parties/fests have been reported to health officials in Florida. Dr. Tomarken agrees with Florida health officials who recommend that you take the following precautions to protect your eyes if you or your children plan to attend a foam party/fest:
- Wear goggles while in the foam.
- Limit time spent in the foam and take frequent breaks out of the foam area.
- Avoid standing directly under or near the blowers where foam is being produced.
- Rinse your face and eyes with clean water frequently.
- Avoid foam exposure to the face and eyes in particular.
- Exit the foam area if the foam accumulates above the waist.
- Avoid rubbing eyes if they are burning or irritated. Instead, be sure to rinse with clean water.
If you get injured during a foam party and require immediate medical attention, call 911 or go to a local emergency room. If you believe you are experiencing reactions related to the foam, such as skin or eye irritation, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.