Dangers of mixing household chemicals

(KFVS) - A Grand Tower, Illinois man was found dead in his home after trying to clear a clogged drain with a mixture of draining chemicals and bleach.

According to Thad Ellet, owner of Thad Ellet Plumbing in Carterville, this is something he sees people attempting on drains in their houses often, just none this deadly.

He said he has sent employees to check drains for people complaining about them being clogged only to have them sent to the hospital for chemical burns.

If you have a drain that is holding water, the likelihood of a liquid drainer clearing it is low. Rather, these should be used every now and again to keep drains from clogging in the first place.

Professor Punit Kohli, a Chemistry instructor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, said his death likely was the result of mixing a drainer containing acid with bleach.

"If you take that bleach and actually add a little bit of acid to it, the PH actually decreases such that the release of chlorine is spontaneous," he said, "Thereby releasing chlorine gas."

This is the same type of poisonous fume used in some of the chemical warfare of World War I.

Kohli said the release of chlorine gas looks very similar to that of mixing vinegar and baking soda, just with poisonous gas.

If you find yourself exposed to these chemicals, Kohli recommends you should dilute the solution with water and get to a hospital as quickly as possible.

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