Hazardous materials call result of mixing household cleaning products

KFR crew responding to hazardous materials call on Conacher Drive. Photo by Logan Cadue.

Kingston Fire & Rescue (KFR) was called to a private residence on Conacher Drive at approximately 10 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, after a tenant had mixed household cleaning products, creating a strong and toxic odour.

While KFR didn’t specify the household cleaners used, two materials commonly mixed in error with such noxious effects are bleach and ammonia, found in many cleaning products.

The Ontario Poison Centre explains what happens when common cleaning chemicals are mixed: “When bleach is mixed with acid (ex/ vinegar, toilet bowl cleaners) it creates chlorine gas. When bleach is mixed with an ammonia product, it creates chloramine gas. Both of these gases are very irritating to inhale and can cause coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and headache. If this occurs, ventilate the area (i.e. open a window) and move to fresh air. Call the Poison Centre right away for treatment advice.”

According to the City of Kingston, crews removed the products and used positive pressure to ventilate the interior. The chemicals were separated and set aside in a safe space.

One person was treated by paramedics. KFR reminds residents to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using and storing household cleaning products.

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