Parents Advised to Use Bleach with Care to Prevent Children’s Poisoning


The EcoWaste Coalition has drawn the attention
of the public on the number 2 poison for Pinoy kids: sodium hypochlorite.

Popularly known as bleach or clorox, sodium hypochlorite is commonly used as
bleaching agent or as a general disinfectant.

“Young children may wrongly think that sodium hypochlorite is a drinking water
as it is generally sold in liquid form and appears like water,” noted Thony
Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“Parents should not transfer bleaching or disinfecting agents to beverage
containers like mineral water bottles or soft drink bottles,” said Dr.
Carissa Dioquino, Head of the UP National Poison Management and Control Center
Based on
in-patient cases and telephone referrals, sodium hypochlorite ranked second
among the top 10 poison agents in 2013 for children and youth as documented by
the NPMCC with 98 out of 745 cases (13%).  Kerosene poisoning
ranked number 1 with 274 cases; button batteries ranked third with 23 cases.

agents should be stored in secure cabinets preferably outside the house.
 When swallowed, these poisons cause burns in the mouth, esophagus and
stomach.  They also cause harm to the skin and eyes when spilled in the
face,” Dioquino added.

According to the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry (ATSDR), “ingestion of hypochlorite solutions causes vomiting and
corrosive injury to the gastrointestinal tract.”

to gases released from hypochlorite may cause burning of the eyes, nose, and
throat; cough as well as constriction and edema of the airway and lungs can
occur,” it said.

“Children may be more vulnerable to corrosive agents than adults because of the
smaller diameter of their airways. In addition, they may be exposed to higher
levels than adults in the same location because of their short stature and the
higher levels of chlorine found nearer to the ground,” the ATSDR explained.

hypochlorite solutions can liberate dangerous amounts of chlorine or chloramine
if mixed with acids or ammonia,” the ATSDR further said.

prevent children’s exposure to sodium hypochlorite, the EcoWaste Coalition
advised consumers to:

1.  Keep bleaching agents or disinfecting solutions out of children’s
2.  Store household cleaning agents in a cool place and
away from acids and sunlight.

The EcoWaste Coalition also urged consumers to go for non-toxic alternatives
for whitening clothes or killing germs like baking soda, vinegar and
peroxide-based materials instead of those containing sodium hypochlorite.-end-