DANGER! CAUTION! WARNING!
You may see these labels on everyday household items, but have you ever read them thoroughly? The majority of these labels state that consuming the product at hand can be fatal to an average-sized adult.
Some household chemicals that can kill you require only a mouthful to be swallowed, while others require between a teaspoonful and an ounce, and still others require up to a pint.
However, regardless of the warning label, you must proceed with caution. Cleaning the house or working on a DIY project does not require you to contaminate your home or water supply with potentially lethal chemicals.
Chemicals in Your Home That Can Kill You
1. Air Fresheners
Air fresheners contain a few extremely hazardous chemicals. For example, formaldehyde is a cancer-causing chemical that irritates the lungs and mucous membranes. Petroleum distillates are irritants to the eyes, lungs, and skin, as well as being highly flammable and capable of causing lethal pulmonary edema. Inhaling flammable aerosol propellants can harm the nervous system.
2. NH3 (Ammonia)
Ammonia will irritate the mucous membranes and lungs if inhaled. Ammonia can cause severe chemical burns if touched with bare skin. Mixing ammonia and bleach is extremely dangerous because it produces chloramine, an even more reactive chemical that can kill you.
3. Antibacterial Cleaners
Many antibacterial cleaners contain triclosan. When triclosan is absorbed through the skin, it can harm the liver. Antibacterial soaps and cleaners can also promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.
Antifreeze should never be overlooked when it comes to household chemicals that can kill you. If ingested, ethylene glycol, also known as antifreeze, is extremely poisonous. Simply breathing in antifreeze can cause dizziness.
Swallowing antifreeze can result in serious organ damage or failure, particularly to the kidneys, heart, and brain. Children and animals are drawn to ethylene glycol because it tastes sweet, and the flavor-killing properties of antifreeze aren’t always enough to keep curious taste buds at bay.
5. Using Bleach
Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, which can cause respiratory damage if inhaled and skin irritation if spilled. Furthermore, combining bleach with other household chemicals such as ammonia, drain cleaners, and toilet bowel cleaners produces fumes that are lethal if inhaled.
6. Shampoos for Carpets and Upholstery
The majority of carpet and upholstery shampoos contain two extremely hazardous chemicals. The first is ammonium hydroxide, which is highly corrosive and irritates the lungs, skin, and eyes; the second is perchlorethylene, a carcinogenic chemical that can harm the nervous system, liver, and kidneys.
7. Car Cleaning/Polishing
Inhaling the petroleum distillates found in many car washes and polishes can result in pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs. Petroleum distillates can also cause lung and skin cancer, as well as irritate the eyes and nose.
8. Detergents for Dishwashers
Chlorine is the most common chemical used to poison children, and most dishwasher detergents contain high concentrations of it.
9. Cleaners for Drains
Sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, or tricholoroethane are common ingredients in drain cleaners. These chemicals have the potential to cause blindness if they are splashed into the eyes, as well as serious chemical burns on the skin. These are household chemicals that, if swallowed, can kill you.
10. Furniture Polish
The nitrobenzene and phenol in furniture polish have been linked to skin and lung cancer. These chemicals are highly flammable and easily absorbed through the skin.
11. Detergent for Laundry
Many fragrances and dyes found in laundry detergents can cause allergic reactions in some people. Swallowing the chemicals in laundry detergent can result in a coma as well as vomiting, nausea, and convulsions.
12. Shampoo for lice
Birth defects, stillbirths, liver damage, cancer, total circulatory system failure, convulsions, and vomiting are all side effects of lindane, which is found in many lice shampoos.
13. Mold/Mildew Removers
Mildew and mold cleaners contain both formaldehyde and sodium hypochlorite. These chemicals have the potential to cause pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and cancer.
Mothballs are made of either naphthalene or p-dichlorobenzene, both of which are toxic chemicals that cause headaches and dizziness. They can also cause irritation to the respiratory system, the skin, and the eyes. Long-term contact can cause liver damage and cataract formation.
15. Motor Oil
Cancer can develop as a result of exposure to hydrocarbons found in motor oil. Furthermore, heavy metals in motor oils can cause significant harm to a variety of organ systems.
16. Oven Cleaner
If ingested, oven cleaners with a base of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide are lethal. Chemical burns can form in the lungs if inhaled, and chemical burns can form on the skin if spilled.
Diazinon, also known as dimpylate, is extremely toxic. Pesticides have the potential to harm the central nervous system.
18. Rat Poison
Rodenticides, while safer than in the past, are poisonous to both pets and humans. If warfarin, a common ingredient in rat poison, is swallowed, it can cause internal bleeding.
19. Cleaners for Toilet Bowls
Many toilet bowl cleaners contain either hydrochloric acid or hypochlorite bleach, which are both highly toxic.
20. Windshield Wiper Fluid
Ethylene glycol, the same chemical found in antifreeze, is found in windshield wiper fluid. Ingestion of ethylene glycol can cause heart, kidney, and brain damage, as well as death.
Windshield wiper fluid may also contain methanol, which can cause blindness and damage the liver, brain, and kidneys if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Isopropyl alcohol in windshield wiper fluid can depress the central nervous system, resulting in severe drowsiness or unconsciousness, as well as death.
Household Chemicals That Should Not Be Mixed
If you mix some of the household chemicals that can kill you with other things, the result can be fatal. Here are some chemical combinations to avoid at all costs.
1. Bleach and Vinegar
When vinegar and bleach are combined, a toxic chlorine gas is produced. When vinegar’s weak acids react with bleach, toxic vapors of chlorine and chloramine are released into the air. These chemicals have the potential to cause severe chemical burns in your eyes and lungs.
2. Ammonia and Bleach
The lethal chloramine vapors produced by mixing bleach and ammonia can burn your throat, cause respiratory damage, and even death. Before combining common household cleaners such as window spray and drain clearing liquids, it is critical to examine the ingredients.
3. Rubbing Alcohol and Bleach
When rubbing alcohol and bleach are mixed, the nervous system, lungs, eyes, liver, kidneys, and skin are all put at risk. When sodium hypochlorite in bleach reacts with isopropyl alcohol, chloroform is formed, which can have a variety of effects ranging from minor (dizziness, nausea) to fatal (death).
4. Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar
While both of these products are natural cleaners, they should never be mixed. The corrosive paracetic acid formed when hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are combined can be extremely irritating to the lungs, eyes, nose, throat, and skin. It may also leave permanent scars on the corneas, throat, and skin.