Household bleach (sodium hydroxide) is not, technically speaking, considered corrosive or toxic, even if ingested. However, bleach exposure can cause irritation in the eyes, mouth, lungs and on skin. Individuals with asthma or other breathing problems are particularly susceptible.
Inhalation of chlorine gas or drinking highly concentrated sources of chlorine (such as household bleach) can lead to vomiting, coma, and even death. For this reason, many people fear that the chlorine in swimming pools and drinking water can be harmful for health, and cause cancer.
Exposure to bleach can irritate the nose, eyes, skin, and lungs. Serious side effects of using bleach can include respiratory problems, skin burns, damage to the nervous system, asthma flares, extreme headaches, migraines, and vomiting.
Symptoms of chlorine poisoning
- burning in the mouth.
- swelling of the throat.
- throat pain.
- stomach pain.
- blood in the stools.
The dangers are compounded when combined with some other chemicals. However, bleach alone is generally safe at standard household concentrations, even if it causes some worrisome symptoms.
Sodium hypochlorite is alkaline, and household bleach also contains NaOH to make the solution even more alkaline. Two substances are formed when sodium hypochlorite dissolves in water. These are hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and the hypochlorite ion (OCl-), with the ratio of the two being determined by the pH of the water.
Open the tap, and pour the bleach down the sink. You can dispose of small amounts of bleach in the sink as long as the bleach is diluted by the running water. The bleach is broken down into its main ingredients—salt and water--with the help of the running water.
What is the difference between a 'hazard' and a 'risk'? A hazard is something that can cause harm, e.g. electricity, chemicals, working up a ladder, noise, a keyboard, a bully at work, stress, etc. A risk is the chance, high or low, that any hazard will actually cause somebody harm.
The solid and its solutions are corrosive. Sodium hydroxide is odorless; thus, odor provides no warning of hazardous concentrations. Sodium hydroxide does not produce systemic toxicity, but is very CORROSIVE and can cause severe burns in all tissues that it comes in contact with.
Color safe bleach is a chemical that uses hydrogen peroxide as the active ingredient (to help remove stains) rather than sodium hypochlorite or chlorine.
SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE (SOLUTION, ACTIVE CHLORINE >10%)
|TYPES OF HAZARD/ EXPOSURE||ACUTE HAZARDS/ SYMPTOMS|
|•SKIN||Redness. Skin burns. Pain. Blisters.|
|•EYES||Redness. Pain. Severe deep burns.|
|•INGESTION||Abdominal pain. Burning sensation. Shock or collapse. Unconsciousness. Vomiting.|
Bleach does not contaminate ground water because it does not survive sewage treatment - either in municipal sewage treatment plants or in septic systems. Thus, there are no harmful effects of bleach in the environment. When used for cleaning and disinfecting, bleach cannot form dioxins.
Bleach is not classified as a carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, has ruled that evidence is not sufficient to definitively classify it as carcinogenic or noncarcinogenic, although studies in animals have found that it has no carcinogenic activity.
Sodium hypochlorite is a chemical commonly found in bleach, water purifiers, and cleaning products. Swallowing sodium hypochlorite can lead to poisoning. Breathing sodium hypochlorite fumes may also cause poisoning, especially if the product is mixed with ammonia.
Bleach is highly irritating and corrosive to the skin, lungs, and eyes. Fumes from bleach are very potent, as you can tell by the smell, and when inhaled they can cause a wide variety of health problems. Bleaches that come in thick liquid form or gel often produce the most harmful fumes.
Bleach Has Harmful Effects on Your Body. Additionally, chlorine-based bleach can damage your skin and eyes. If left on skin, bleach can cause irritation and burning. Over very long periods of time, the chemical's presence on skin can lighten skin pigment and permanently damage tissue.
Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is a compound that can be effectively used for water purification. It is used on a large scale for surface purification, bleaching, odor removal and water disinfection.
Examples of oxidizers include organic peroxides, such as benzoyl peroxide, and other types of oxidizers, such as concentrated nitric acid, sodium hypochlorite (also known as bleach), oxygen, concentrated or heated perchloric acid, concentrated sulfuric acid, and concentrated hydrogen peroxide.
Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
|Clorox® Germicidal Bleach1||Bleach||View Details|
|Clorox® High Efficiency Fresh Meadow® Bleach||Bleach||View Details|
|Clorox® High Efficiency Regular Bleach||Bleach||View Details|
|Clorox® Lavender Bleach||Bleach||View Details|
Damage from bleach includes dry, brittle, inelastic hair, and hair that is more prone to breakage and split ends. While any and all bleaches have a damaging effect on your hair's protein structure, the more often you bleach or highlight your hair, the more damaged it will be.