You can find some of the most dangerous chemical combinations right inside your home. Many over-the-counter and off-the-shelf products are highly combustible or toxic when mixed together, posing a significant threat to the unsuspecting user. These four household chemical combinations can be extremely hazardous and even deadly.
Two Different Drain Cleaners
You may think two drain cleaners will mix well – adding power where you need it most. However, drain cleaners have some extremely toxic ingredients, and mixing two brands of drain cleaner can create a poisonous situation or even cause an explosion. Common ingredients in drain cleaners include sodium hydroxide, bleach, sulfuric acid, and hydrochloric acid. Different brands use different chemicals, and sometimes these chemicals have dangerous reactions in different quantities or when mixed with other cleaning ingredients.
For example, if you mix a drain cleaner with sulfuric acid and one with sodium hydroxide, you get an acid-base reaction, resulting in salt and water. Acid-base reactions are exothermic, giving off heat. When you mix these drain cleaners, you may find yourself at the receiving end of scalding hot water shooting from the drain – water mixed with leftover acids or bases. Another example is if you mix Liquid Plumr (containing sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite) with a drain cleaner that has hydrochloric acid, it has the potential to create toxic chlorine gas.
Bleach and Ammonia
Many households commonly use bleach cleaners and cleaners containing ammonia. While both of these products are perfectly safe to use alone, they create a deadly chemical vapor if mixed together. Mixing bleach and ammonia creates chloramine vapor – a combination of ammonia and chlorine gas. Chloramine vapor can attack the eyes, nose, and lungs. If you inhale the vapor, it can cause chest pain and shortness of breath. Inhaling vapors extensively can knock you unconscious and even be fatal.
Mixing bleach with anything other than water is potentially dangerous. Bleach is a toxic chemical on its own, and one you must handle with care. Mixing bleach with vinegar can produce chlorine gas, which causes coughing, burning eyes, and breathing problems. Mixing bleach with rubbing alcohol creates chloroform. While it may not be strong enough to make you pass out, it can create a serious irritant. A good rule is not to mix bleach with anything.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar
Many cleaning blogs tell you hydrogen peroxide and vinegar make a great bacterial disinfectant for around the house. While this is true, you need to be careful with this combination. Mixing hydrogen peroxide with vinegar won’t create a toxic chemical reaction if you apply each separately onto a surface, but combining them in the same container can be dangerous. When you combine these two ingredients, the resulting chemical is peracetic acid – a highly corrosive acid that can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Exposure to peracetic acid for a long time can lead to permanent lung damage.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
You may come across the chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda as a household cleaning solution, but it’s actually quite dangerous. The reaction between the acetic acid in vinegar and the sodium bicarbonate in baking soda creates carbon dioxide bubbles, which overflow, leave a sodium acetate solution behind, and sometimes leave toxic chlorine in the air.
Is Your Household Chemical Injury a Case of Product Liability?
Some manufacturers and companies are to blame for household chemical injuries. If a corporation’s negligence caused you injury, you may be able to obtain compensation. For example, if a product manufacturer failed to provide an adequate warning label with the dangers of mixing the chemical, you could have a product liability claim. Contact Liljegren Law Group today to discuss your case with an expert attorney in San Diego.