Have you ever heard someone tell you never to to mix bleach with other chemicals? If so, they were absolutely right! Here’s some of the reasons you should avoid bleach and some of the side effects that can occur when handling bleach during certain situations:
The Breakdown Of Bleach As A Cleaner
The elements that make bleach an effective cleaner also make it highly volatile and reactive to other elements, such as cellular structures. Although bleach is cheap, versatile and readily available does not mean that it should be used for every cleanup. Depending on the mixture, bleach can produce toxic gases that are harmful.
Phosgene gas, also known as mustard gas, is actually a byproduct of bleach when combined with ammonia. A few other elements that are created as a byproduct include hydrochloric acid, chlorine gas and hydrazine.
So Why Does It Matter?
A while back, Clorox decided to add “crime scene cleanup” to its list of uses, however, they also state not to mix with ammonia—which is a key compound found in human kidneys.
In essence, if bleach is ever used to clean up a crime scene or an unattended death, then the risk of mustard gas, hydrochloric acid, chlorine gas and hydrazine exposure is a real threat.
Bleach, if not handled correctly, can also lead to eye and respiratory irritation when mixed with human fluids, since the body is slightly acidic. At high concentrations (like the amount that it would take to tackle a crime scene) the fumes produced from bleach reactions can be deadly.
Bleach As An Irritant
If you’ve ever cleaned with bleach and felt a tickle at the back of your throat, that is your body reacting to certain fumes released from bleach when cleaning. In small dosages (like wiping off a counter), bleach may not extremely harmful, however, if an area is not ventilated properly, then some other side effects that could arise include nose bleeds, headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain and some neurological disorders. Fumes may stay in an area long after bleach has been applied, so if the area is not ventilated, then the risk of prolonged exposure to these fumes may be elevated.
Rashes And Irritations
Bleach can be a wonderful product to add to dingy clothing. However, as many of you can relate, adding too much bleach to your load can eat away your clothes. When bleach is applied to the skin, it has the same effect. Bleach is a strong, corrosive liquid, which means it has a damaging effect on any surface it touches. Burning, itching and redness are the most common reactions when bleach comes in contact with skin.
Is Bleach Really That Potent Of A Cleaner?
When we think of bleach, we generally think about the bottles that we can buy from our local grocery story. These products, however, are usually around 5% concentration. In order to properly degrade most organic compounds, a concentration level of at least 10% is required. This type of bleach is considered “medical grade” and can be a bit more expensive and harmful than regular standard sodium hypochlorite .
Even with a higher concentration level, when bleach is mixed with water or any other solution, it loses its potency to kill some strains of bacteria and blood borne pathogens. Without knowing the proper procedure for biohazard cleanup, its hard to detect what the appropriate amount of time is needed for chemical application. When disinfecting a surface, you cannot just wipe it down. Generally, disinfection requires an amount of time for surfaces to be kept wet. This adds even more risk for the potential of harmful fumes to be released.
You’re Not alone.
If you ever experience a situation where biohazard needs to be cleaned up, don’t try to tackle it alone. Accident Cleaners and Restoration uses a unique process that safely and effectively removes any traces of biohazard—including odors that may linger in the air. Remember, we’re here to help. Our live support staff is available 24/7 to help you remediate a trauma scene or to even help answer question with the hazards of personal cleanup. For more information on our Qualifications and certifications in the biohazard remediation field, check out our page at http://www.accidentcleaners.com/why-accident-cleaners/qualifications/