Oct 15, 2001: What is the toxicity of household cleaning products? —Part I


Most household cleaning products are irritants and can cause irritation of the eyes, oropharyngeal and respiratory mucosa. Tearing, erythema, dyspnea and generalized discomfort are some of the more frequent symptoms.

Household ammonia has a strong odor that discourages ingestion. Household ammonia is usually quite dilute which limits chemical related injuries following toddler ingestion.  Even when larger quantities of ammonia are ingested in a suicidal intent, esophageal lesions are rare. 

Toddler ingestion of household bleach does not usually cause burns.  Granular formation of bleach are more concentrated and duration of mucosal contact is loner than with liquid bleach ingestions.  Thus one must be more diligent in looking for oral lesions when granular bleach has been ingested. 

As always, if there are any questions, call the MTPC.

I am interested in any questions that you would like answered in "Question of the Week". Please e-mail me with any suggestions.

Donna Seger