In 2016, one of the news headlines highlighted a story where a young boy died after drinking drain cleaner thinking it was water. Another notable case is that of the death of a man and the hospitalization of both his family and the first responders on the scene. These incidents are quite common with over 2000 reported drain cleaner poisoning cases being reported in 2016.

What makes drain cleaners dangerous?

Whenever crystal chemical drain cleaners are used, they make the pipes hot leading to the release of gas that is toxic to humans and pets. On the other hand, acid cleaners corrode anything they touch.

When mixed with bleach and other household cleaning agents the result is the release of deadly amounts of chlorine gas. Concentrated caustic soda or sodium hydroxide can corrode body tissues in either liquid or vapor form.

Common drain cleaner poisoning symptoms

In cases of ingestion of the drain cleaner, the most common symptom is a severe burn down the throat as well as chemical induced ulcers in the stomach. This normally results in acute abdominal pain, vomiting blood and tissue damage.

When in the form of fumes, drain cleaner poisoning causes burns to the skin and eyes. It can also damage the lungs of parts of the upper respiratory tract. Excessive exposure normally causes chronic chemical pneumonia.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect that someone has suffered from drain cleaner poisoning, you should either call an ambulance or rush him or her to the closest medical center. Do not give milk or try to induce vomiting because this may further damage the tissues around the stomach and the throat. A medical professional is more suited to pump the stomach to remove the chemical in an environment where the vital signs are being monitored.

In cases of skin exposure, the patient may be transferred to a burn care hospital. There, washing of the skin can be done by professionals. In some cases, surgery may be required. The treatment depends on how fast the patient reaches a medical center and how much poison was swallowed.

Poison Control

In the United States, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a local poison control center. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. You can call  24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


If you have children, pets or if you just prefer a safer method of cleaning drains, it is better to shift to organic drain cleaners. BlueBio is one of the best organic drain cleaners that uses cultured bacteria to break down clogs instead of harmful chemicals.

Since it is biodegradable, there are no toxic fumes that may cause eye or skin chemical burns. It is very effective against the common causes of clogging like grease, fats and hair. The ECO safe + friendly approval shows that BlueBio should be the drain cleaner of choice for your home. Protect what you are not willing to lose by avoiding drain cleaner poisoning.


Reference: NY Times Health Information