The Truth about Bleach

For generations we have been using Bleach around our homes for multiple cleaning and disinfecting purposes.  It is one of the most common cleaning substances in our homes, businesses and schools.  It is great for cleaning our toilets, stain removal, killing germs and disinfecting around the house.  However have you every stopped and thought about what you are using and the effects it may having on you and your family?

If we think about it when we use bleach we are aware that to avoid burns to our hands we need protect our skin and wear gloves when using it.  Just look at the back of the bottle, it displays an array of and warnings.  We know not to use around our children and our pets as it would be highly dangerous if this was accidently ingested.  We are also aware that bleach omits very strong fumes and can even make our eyes sting, yet we still use it.

We have been conditioned over the years to using this as a standard part of our cleaning regime in our homes and businesses.  However we are now waking up to the fact that this is a highly toxic substance and could be dangerous to our health.

Health Effects of Bleach

We need to ensure we are educated to understand how detrimental the continuous of bleach is to our health.  Bleach fumes can accumulate and linger in poorly-ventilated homes. Indoor air becomes polluted with toxins, endangering the health of all those who breathe it in.  Symptoms may occur including skin irritation and burns, stinging sensation to the eyes, extreme headaches, abdominal discomfort, esophageal perforation, coughing/shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting.  It is particularly dangerous for people already suffering from respiratory problems as it can worsen the condition, especially people suffering from asthma and allergies. 

We also need to think about those around us sharing our homes.  We hope and try to provide our family with a safe and healthy environment.  However, when children are exposed to bleach and bleach fumes they can become very susceptible to the adverse health effects because their immune systems cannot fight off the harsh chemicals and their lungs are smaller and can fill with the toxic fumes. Even the passive or indirect exposure to bleach can cause childhood respiratory illness and other infections.  We know to always keep bleach out of reach yet there are still a great number of bleach poisoning incidents every year.

Our pets can also be in danger of indoor pollution from bleach or from accidental ingestion of bleach causing serious damage to their health and even death.

Breast cancer has recently been linked to the accumulation of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue. A study from Hartford Connecticut, found that “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.”


Environmental Effects

In addition to dangerous health effects, bleach is a know polluter to our environment.  When bleach is poured in our waters it mixes with minerals and elements to create a host of dangerous toxins that can take many years to dissolve.

Bleach is to our air pollution especially when factories use chlorine bleach.  It releases toxins into the air during the ventilation and exhaust processes and these chlorine bleach by-products eventually reach the Earth’s atmosphere and the ozone layer. According to Audubon Magazine, chlorine bleach is linked to ozone depletion, which has far-reaching environmental effects in terms of global warming.


Other Dangers for Consideration

Bleach can become highly toxic when combined with any other household cleaner as it might result in the release of a number of types of toxic gases including chlorine gas. Never mix it with alcohol, any other cleaning agent or acid (including vinegar).  

Avoid using bleach to disinfect your shower, consider that using this to clean your showerhead and then taking a shower may mean you taking a shower that contains bleach. 


Natural Alternatives

There are natural alternatives available that you can make at home using ingredients including lemon, baking soda, vinegar and salt all of which are highly effective and non-toxic.  E-Storm is also a great alternative and is more effective bleach at cleaning germs and carries a British standards certification – EN1276.  All that is used to make this multi-purpose disinfectant is salt, water, vinegar and an electrical current and in just 5 mins you have a disinfectant that has no health warnings and is completely safe to use around families.