We've always known not to mix certain household chemicals because they can create toxic gases and cause health issues.

I remember when I was much younger, my parents said to never mix bleach and ammonia because, besides the eye-stinging effect, it could hurt your lungs.

But now, especially in the wake of COVID-19, many health organizations, and even EMS and emergency workers are reporting they're seeing a rise in dangerous chemical reactions in the home.

The Puyallup Police Department, Clearwater Florida Fire Department, and others on Facebook have recently posted some dangers about creating your own 'home brewed' cleaning supplies.

Puyallup and Clearwater Florida Police, Fire EMS
Puyallup and Clearwater Florida Police, Fire EMS

Some of it stems from the shortages of Clorox or other bleach-based cleaners in 2020. Remember how for weeks grocery stores were wiped out? The 'freak out' factor from COVID has also caused many people to seek out their own 'nuclear bomb' type of disinfectants.

Sometimes these create deadly toxic gases, which EMS and other emergency workers have to deal with when a person is overcome.

As we had mentioned earlier, when you mix bleach and ammonia, you get what are called toxic chloramine vapors. It is a chemical that has been used, in very trace amounts, to treat drinking water for years in the U.S. But direct exposure to the gas produced by mixing bleach and ammonia can be deadly. Here are some other 'fun' gases you create accidentally:

  • Mixing Bleach and Vinegar? Chlorine gas.  The same gas used in World War 1 and killed thousands of soldiers.
  • Mix Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar? You get Peracetic Acid, which is used in low controlled doses as a sterilizer of medical equipment. However, the kind of exposure you get from mixing them at home can cause serious eye and lung irritation and damage.
  • And finally, if you mix Bleach and Rubbing Alcohol, you get a substance used by some seriously dangerous serial killers, mobsters, and other unsavory people: Chloroform.  Until 1990 it was often used in surgical procedures to lull a person to 'sleep,' but that practice was discontinued due to its long-term possible harmful side effects.  It still shows up in movies and Hollywood, a soaked rag is used to render a person unconscious.

EMS, medical, and Law Enforcement officials stress to people, don't mix up your own home cleaning brews, stick to what's over the counter and be safe!


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