The Ugly Truth About Bleach

What’s bad about Bleach?

Bleach, a diluted form of sodium hypochlorite, is often used as a stain remover or whitening and sanitizing agent for germs and mildew. Chlorine is the active oxidizing agent in bleach which causes its whitening effect. However, chlorine is a toxic and corrosive gas and easily leached into the skin.

Chlorine is classified as a respiratory irritant and many scientific studies, including ones performed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, provide research that links certain chronic respiratory health conditions such as asthma and COPD with the regular use of bleach. Bleach is particularly harmful to infants, children, people with weakened immune systems, and those with autoimmune disorders.

In addition to its health hazards, bleach also has a deleterious environmental impact. When bleach washes into the waterway, it contributes to water pollution. An eco-friendlier (and healthier) alternative to bleach is Hydrogen Peroxide. Peroxide is available in many concentrations from 3% dilution (similar to what you’d find in the first- aid section of the grocery store) up to 35% concentration - often found at health food and pool supply stores. Like bleach, peroxide is a whitening agent and effective mildew remedy, but the active oxidizing agent is oxygen. Peroxide is safe for use on skin (though it is still recommended to use gloves in higher concentrations as it can irritate sensitive skin) and safe for oral consumption. Best of all, peroxide has no negative effect on the environment or can be attributable to indoor air pollution since its bi-product are oxygen and water.  

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