The Deadly Truth About Household Cleaners

In last week’s blog, I discussed carpet and upholstery cleaners as potential lethal poisons. This week I’d like to discuss the dangers of other household cleaning products and their potential to cause harm.

Air Fresheners: Most of these products work by coating your nasal passages with an oily film or a nerve-deadening agent to interfere with your ability to smell odors. The common chemicals in air fresheners include formaldehyde and phenol. Both can trigger allergic reactions in small doses that might exhibit as a rash that looks like hives. If accidentally ingested, however, these chemicals can cause convulsions, circulatory collapse, coma and even death.

Furniture Polish: These products are highly flammable because of their oil content and often contain phenol and nitrobenzene—both of which are extremely toxic chemicals that can easily be absorbed through the skin. Nitrobenzene, depending on the amount inhaled or absorbed via skin tissue, can cause fatigue, headaches and dizziness. And in larger doses, a person may experience decreased respiration, blurred vision and eventually slip into a coma. A telltale sign of a nitrobenzene overdose is a bluish-gray tint to the skin.

Oven Cleaners: These household products contain lye (sodium hydroxide) this chemical is the substance of choice to dissolve roadkill that gets dumped into landfills. Lye is certainly not selective and would not mind dissolving YOU—either from the outside or the inside, depending on how you encounter it.

Antibacterial Cleaners: These products often contain the chemical triclosan. I’ve blogged about the dangers of overusing this household item before and their contribution to the development of drug-resistant bacteria. Triclosan, however, has also been linked to liver damage because of its ability to be absorbed through the skin. The chemical also reduces muscle contractions—studies in animals indicate a 25% reduction in cardiac function and an average 18% decrease in grip strength.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, ordinary household cleaners can have dramatic lethal effects if used improperly or without caution. Accidental overdoses happen more often than one might think.

This may excite the murder mystery writer and give interesting ideas for murder plots. But, for the “ordinary” individual, I hope this blog will cause you to use such products with renewed vigilance.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, About James J. Murray, About Murder, Accidental Poisoning With Air Fresheners, Accidental Poisoning With Household Cleaners, Acute Poisons, All About Murder, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Chemical Poisons, Chemicals Used For Murder, Choosing How a Character Should Die in a Story, Contact Poisons, Dangerous Cleaning Supplies, Dangerous Household Chemical Cleaners, Dangers, Dangers of Antibacterial Soaps, Deadly Poisons Discussed, Deciding How to Kill Off a Character in a Novel, Designing Murder Plots, Dramatic Murder Weapons, FDA Concerns About Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, Furniture Polish Poisoning, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Murder Weapons, James J. Murray Blog, Lethal Chemical Poisons, Lethal Chemicals in Murder Mysteries, Lethal Poisons, Methods of Murder, Murder With Chemical Cleaners, New Blog, New Methods of Murder, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Poisoning With Cleaning Products, Poisoning With Household Cleaning Products, Poisons and Murder, Prescription For Murder Blog, The Science of Murder, Tools of Murder, Toxic Air Fresheners, Toxic Oven Cleaners, Unique Murder Plots, Unique Murder Weapons, Ways to Murder, Writing Dramatic Murder Scenes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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