>From: Ernie Lippert <ernielippert**At_Symbol_Here**TOAST.NET>
I “threw” this together in 2007 to provide a quick answer for my colleagues. Since the problem has reappeared, I thought it might be of some interest.
Bleach and Ammonia
Some possible reactions between bleach (Hypochlorous acid, HOCl) with Ammonia, NH3
1. HOCl + NH3 → NH2Cl + H2O
2. 3HOCl + NH3 → 3H2O + NCl3
3. NH3 + NH2Cl + NaOH → N2H4 + NaCl + H2O
4. 2NH2Cl + N2H4 → 2NH4Cl + N2
Places to look:
1. HSDB (Hazardous Substances Data Bank, part of toxnet)
2. DART (this is inside toxnet and leads you to original literature).Searching for monochloroamine gave 22 references some of which are abstracted below,
Some references found for NH2Cl (monochloramine or chloramine) in toxnet:
1. Insufficient evidence for carcinogenicity in humans.
2. Acute eye and upper respiratory irritation
a. Why are enclosed swimming pools so irritating to the eyes?
Urea (urine) + H2O + bacterial action → NH3 which then reacts with bleach:
HOCl + NH3 → NH2Cl + H2O
3. A woman with an undiagnosed oligodendroglioma (a brain tumor) mixed bleach and ammonia died while cleaning the bathroom.
4. Acute lung injury that progressed to severe pneumonitis, caused by the use of combined hypochlorite and ammonia for cleaning in an occupational setting. A tracheostomy was necessary but the patient recovered in 7 days.
5. Erythropoietin resistance was linked to chloramine exposure.
6. Acute eye and upper respiratory irritation was reported at an industrial facility that processes green salads in water containing hypochlorite. The irritant agents were chloramines resulting from the reaction of hypochlorite and nitrogen compounds coming from the sap proteins released when the vegetables were cut.
7. A 21 year old /phase/ G1 P0 presented at 37 weeks for her routine prenatal visit complaining of abruptly decreased fetal movement over the past 2 days. On the day fetal movements were lost; she inhaled a combination of chlorine bleach and ammonia while doing laundry. Afterwards, the patient felt frequent abdominal cramps and lightheadedness. The baby was delivered by C-section. At discharge on day 8, the infant was still jittery, with increased tone in the extremities, but truncal and neck hypotonia. It was unclear of the extent that exposure to chloramine contributed to the insult.
Though it might not kill you, it is not a good idea to mix ammonia and chlorine bleach.
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