Issue 382: 5 / 9 / 2011

Mixing Household Cleaners Can Damage Lungs

Submitted by Tim Tyler, Public Safety Specialist

Household chemists beware - the fumes produced by mixing ammonia and bleach product can cause serious lung problems. When bleach and ammonia are combined, the doctors explain, they create a gas called chloramine.

When inhaled, this gas releases ammonia, hydrochloric acid, and oxygen free radicals in lungs. Small amounts of chloramine may cause mild irritation, but it can corrode the tissues of the lung and damage the cells.

The result; inflammation of lung tissues and build-up of fluids that can obstruct the airways.

*Reprinted from the New England Journal of Medicine