Dry Ice on ITV’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire causes Chris Tarrant to fall ill.

Tarrant’s asthma triggered by special effects

Chris Tarrant Image
Chris Tarrant Image

Chris Tarrant, longtime presenter of ITV’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire had a near death experience when he suffered from an extremely serious asthma attack, brought on by the dry ice used in the series.

Tarrant had been diagnosed with the condition Industrial asthma which is a type of asthma brought on by a certain set of conditions usually fumes emitted from within the workplace environment. Doctors told him that it was the smoke effect on the set that had catalysed the development of this condition.

The 66 year old TV presenter then months later suffered from such a severe asthma attack it nearly claimed his life. Tarrant spoke of the terrifying ordeal saying

 “When it happens the first time you think, ‘Oh my God, what’s happening? I’m going to die.’”

He was diagnosed with the condition in 2004 after Who Wants to be a Millionaire had been running for 6 years, and 6 years’ worth of smoke inhalation is a lot! It was also attributed to the stars staying in places with air conditioning. The Millionaire studio of course being one of them. Places which frequently use air conditioning have been linked to numerous health hazards as the bad air simply circulates through the vents promoting the spread of disease and meaning the air inhaled is not fresh and has less oxygen and more bad chemicals.

He was prescribed the normal medication of inhalers to help with the problem but when Tarrant was working in Florida he had an asthma attack that simply wouldn’t let up.

Chris described the incident saying: “I woke myself up coughing and I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t get air in my lungs. Then I got in a panic.” Chris then rushed out of the room to find help as he was alone and knew if he passed out or worse that no one would come to his aid for hours.

“I was really struggling but I got to this clinic. They rushed me in and gave me oxygen. I thought I was going to die.”

Due to his diagnosis and frightening near death experience Tarrant is now affiliated with Asthma UK’s Lifeline charity, having recently appealed on their behalf on the BBC.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire has been running since 1998 and Tarrant has been the presenter for every series. If ITV produces a new series Tarrant, with his health problems may have to set down from the presenting role. Even if they dry ice was stopped studio heat and lighting and the air conditioning could still have a detrimental effect. We hope is Tarrant is approached he puts his health first!

Image courtesy of Karen Roe @Flickr.com