Oct 22, 2001: What is the toxicity of household cleaning products? —Part II

The Middle Tennessee Poison Center received many questions regarding household cleaning products.  One of the most frequent calls occurs when bleach (hypochlorite) and ammonia are mixed to use as a cleaning solution (most frequently for bathroom fixtures).  The combination of these products forms the noxious chloramines gas. Chloramine gas can cause ocular, upper and lower respiratory tract irritation.  The patient may complain of tearing, nasal irritation, shortness of breath, and cough.  Bronchospasm may occur and even more rarely, pulmonary edema. 

Symptoms usually resolve when the patient is removed from exposure to the gas, and most patients are managed at home.   If symptoms do not readily resolve, the patient is sent to the Emergency Department.  Treatment is supportive care.

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