Vinegar: serious respiratory poisoning after bad mixtures

Vinegar serious respiratory poisoning after bad mixtures

Poison Control Centers have recorded several respiratory poisonings, sometimes serious, in people who followed home recipes posted on the Internet, using vinegar.

Be careful with recipes “miracles,”easy“, “natural“, “economic”, “ecological“…that you can see on the Internet and social networks. Especially when it comes to using acidic substances as the vinegar, L’hydrochloric acid or a descaler. “Mixtures of bleach-based household products with an acidic substance release chlorine gas, at the origin ofsometimes serious respiratory problemsrecalls the magazine Prescrire on November 1, 2023. Gaseous chlorine irritates the airways leading to difficulty breathing. There is a risk of syndrome acute respiratory distressvery serious form of respiratory failure life-threatening.

A spike in poisonings since the ban on certain products in commerce

We so forget about mixing bleach with vinegar or hydrochloric acid to clean and shine your toiletits shower tray, all other rooms in the house or even to weed your garden. Since the ban on the sale of pesticides and herbicides dangerous for health, in 2019, some people are turning to homemade recipes offered on the Internet to weed their exterior. “While only one poisoning had been recorded by Poison Control Centers from 2002 to 2013, this number rose to 204 since the date of ban on individuals of certain herbicides in 2019″ noted the National National Food Safety Agency (Handles) in spring 2023, i.e. in just 4 years.

Number of annual cases of exposure to chlorine by mixing bleach and vinegar or acid for weeding, reported to Poison Control Centers from 01/01/2001 to 10/31/2022 © Anses

Medical care necessary for half of the victims

From symptoms of victims : cough (81%), difficulty breathing (50%), irritation of the ENT area or respiratory tract (46%). For almost half of the people, the poisoning required medical attention. Five people were hospitalized including three in intensive care. Among the 95 people examined by a doctor, approximately a third had bronchospasmfour people were found in respiratory distressfour others kept after-effects sometimes lasting 6 monthsas asthma.

To limit the risk of poisoning

  • use only products marked “Authorized use in the garden” (EAJ) in the garden
  • using bleach alone at home
  • use vinegar alone at home (you can mix white vinegar with baking soda but do not heat the mixture)

In the event of poisoning, if the person is not breathing or is not conscious, call SAMU (15). THE Poison centers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.