Sodium Hypochlorite

CAS RN:7681-52-9

Health Effects

    • A) USES: Hypochlorite is an aqueous solution produced via the reaction of chlorine gas with water. Most household bleach solutions contain 3% to 5% hypochlorite, while swimming pool disinfectants and industrial strength cleaners may contain up to 20% hypochlorite. Addition of an acid to a hypochlorite solution may release chlorine gas, while the ammonia may react with hypochlorite solutions to release chloramine, a gas with properties similar to chlorine. This scenario most often develops when several different household cleaning products are mixed.
    • B) TOXICOLOGY: Dilute aqueous hypochlorite solutions (3% to 5%) may be moderately irritating to the skin but rarely cause serious burns, unless very large volumes are ingested. More concentrated industrial cleaners (20% hypochlorite) may cause more serious corrosive injuries. Both chlorine and chloramine gas are pulmonary irritants and produce a corrosive effect on contact with moist tissues (eg, eyes, upper respiratory tract). Chloramine is less water soluble than chlorine and may produce more delayed effects.
    • C) EPIDEMIOLOGY: There are thousands of annual exposures in the United States to hypochlorite solutions, but only a small percentage seeks medical attention, and outcomes are rarely serious.
      • 1) MILD TO MODERATE POISONING: Ingestion of dilute (3% to 5%) aqueous hypochlorite solutions will cause immediate burning in the mouth and throat, but no further injury would be expected.
      • 2) SEVERE POISONING: Ingestions of more concentrated solutions may cause significant esophageal and gastric burns, and patients may manifest dysphagia, drooling, and severe throat, chest, and abdominal pain. Hematemesis and gastrointestinal perforations can occur.
      • 3) INHALATION: Most common respiratory symptoms included cough, upper respiratory irritation, and dyspnea. Reaction of an acid with a hypochlorite solution liberates chlorine gas, which has relatively high water solubility. This leads to an irritant effect on the mucous membranes (eg, eyes, nose, and throat) of those nearby and may trigger wheezing and other respiratory symptoms, particularly in those with preexisting diseases such as asthma or COPD. In serious exposures, which are rare with household products, upper airway edema may cause obstruction, and lethal noncardiogenic pulmonary edema (chemical pneumonitis) may also occur.
      • 4) INTRAVENOUS: Acute renal injury, intravascular hemolysis, and mild myocardial injury developed after parenteral self-administration of a large quantity of sodium hypochlorite.
      • 5) OCULAR OR DERMAL: Ocular or dermal exposures to chlorine gas or hypochlorite solutions can cause irritation and corrosive injuries.
Find more information on this substance at: Hazardous Substances Data Bank , TOXNET , PubMed