Last Wednesday I made a huge mistake and while I really hate broadcasting my mistakes to the world I think if I can save someone else from possible death or injury it is worth it.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining around big fluffy clouds but it wasn't overly hot and there was a nice cool breeze. I live for days like that so thought it might be a good time to clean out the storage shed and get at some canning jars I had stored there. Much to my horror I found the boxes had mouse droppings in them. I really hate mice! Oh well, no big deal right? I will just bring them in and give them a good scrubbing.
I piled some of the boxes on the quad and trundled off to the house, put water on to heat and did a bit of house work while I waited. No hot running water here, it all has to be heated but I am used to it. I just means a bit of planning before doing dishes and cleaning. No big deal.
Once the water was boiling hot I filled the sinks. One for rinsing and one for washing. Then I dumped in some soap and deciding that these jars really needed to be sterilized some bleach as well. What happened next is a little fuzzy.... I remember stopping at one point to call my mother-in-law as we hadn't chatted in a while and talking to someone while doing dishes can make it go faster. She wasn't available so I continued my chore reminding myself to call back in about 10 minutes or so as requested by Pop.
I had not brought in all the jars at once but had to continually go back outside for more. Each time I went outside I got a dose of fresh air then took the jars back in to wash. Finally the last jar was shining clean on the kitchen counter. Yeah! But I felt tired, really tired, and my chest felt funny, actually it was hurting a bit... strange... maybe I will go up and just take a short nap? I started up the stairs when I remembered I hadn't called Mom back. Sigh, I better call, my nap can wait a bit. Only once they answered the phone a weird thing happened. They couldn't seem to understand me. Was something wrong with the phone line? They kept asking me if I was OK. Pop said something about maybe I had, had a stoke as my voice was funny. I felt fine... Well my chest hurt a bit but no big deal. I couldn't figure out what they were talking about and was getting very frustrated. I finally promised them Mountain Man would call them back as soon as he got home and hung up. Again I wanted to go upstairs and take a nap but remembered I hadn't checked for eggs so outside I went. I remember getting sidetracked and looking at my tomato plants then wandering back into the house where Mountain Man found me sitting and staring out the window a bit later.
Here's what actually happened: I mixed Palmolive dish detergent with bleach creating a toxic Chlorine gas which was used in WW1. It requires a 1000 parts per million to be fatal and destroys the lung tissue. You can read about it here. Palmolive has an ingredient called Ammonium C12-15 Pareth Sulfate, which is what mixes with the sodium hypochlorite in the bleach creating the Chlorine gas. You can find a list of ingredients in Palmolive on their website here. While I had no idea what was wrong this gas was working away in my body depriving it of oxygen and damaging my lung tissue. 5 days later my lungs still hurt although to a much lesser degree.
Palmolive does have a warning on their bottle. Of course it is on the back of the bottle in small print.
I have often used small amounts of bleach in my dish water before this. Only difference this time is I put in more than usual. Mountain Man has now taken away all the bleach.... silly man. He continues to joke that he can't even leave me alone long enough to do the dishes.
Morel of this story? Please be careful with mixing cleaners. I never would have thought dish soap and bleach could cause a reaction like that.
A couple other links regarding this topic you might find interesting:
What's Inside Palmolive Ultra: Killer Bubbles (while I didn't use the Palmolive Ultra the active ingredient, Ammonium C12-15 Pareth Sulfate, is the same)
Killers Lucking Around Your Home
Cleaning Won't Kill You, (Maybe)
Please share this with your family and friends. You never know who you might save.
This post is also link in too: Wildcrafting Wednesday, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Homestead Barn Hop #73, The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival #19, Mostly Homemade Monday's , Take a Look Tuesday.