Chlorine is a strong oxidizing agent and is used in many toilet cleaning products. Even though chloride ions are necessary for human beings, elemental chlorine is extremely dangerous. When this toxic yellow-green gas (with concentrations above 30 ppm) is inhaled, it reacts with water and cells in the human body, thereby producing hydrochloric acid and hypochlorous acid. Hydrochloric acid is highly corrosive and can cause significant damage to the human body. Chlorine should not be handled without a pair of protective gloves, proper ventilation and a face mask.
Inhalation of low concentrations of chlorine (30 ppm) usually causes coughing and vomiting. Lungs may be damaged if the concentration is 60 ppm. Inhalation of high concentrations (1000 ppm) can be fatal. Chlorine fumes are extremely dangerous for people with respiratory problems and heart conditions.
This corrosive gas has the ability to bond with proteins in the hair, skin and scalp. It causes significant damage to the skin and the eyes. If the hair is exposed to chlorine, it becomes rough and brittle, and loses color. Chlorine is known to cause breast cancer. Consumption of chlorine increases the risk of rectal and bladder cancer.
The National Safety Council recorded two cases which involved housewives using chlorine products to clean the toilet. In an effort to increase the stain-removing ability of their cleaning product, they mixed it with household bleach. This resulted in immediate death of one housewife. The other recovered after spending a long time in the hospital.
Mixing cleaning products containing chlorine with other cleaning products can result in formation of chloramines. These derivatives of ammonia cause hemolytic anemia. They also disrupt the normal functioning of the lungs. Inhalation of these chemicals can result in burning of the mucous membrane.
Use of chlorine-based cleaning products results in formation of various organochlorines. Exposure to these chemicals can cause severe skin rash, liver damage and respiratory problems. Some of them are carcinogenic.
People clean their homes in an endeavor to keep our family members and pets healthy and happy. Use of of cleaning products containing chlorine produces the opposite effect. Before purchasing any cleaning product check the label to see if it contains chlorine. Avoid using cleaning products which contain this harmful chemical.
Chlorine poisoning usually happens slowly, over a long period of time. To prevent this, it is always advisable to “go green”. Use natural cleaning products which are made of ingredients from Mother Earth.