By: Grace Ding
A chemical is a substance or compound that is artificially prepared, some of which can be dangerous. Many chemicals are common products nowadays, but they are sometimes misused. During the COVID-19 pandemic, certain people are voluntarily consuming toxic chemicals with the thoughts of killing bacteria in the body or involuntarily after cleaning. What are the consequences?
The two chemicals that are the most often misused are bleach and rubbing alcohol. Bleach is a chemical most commonly used to keep laundry white and to wash metal or marble surfaces. Though it can be used to clean off germs and remove multiple species of mold, bleach is poisonous for consumption. It is corrosive even for metal, and once drunk, it can burn tissues in the body. If ingested, it could cause permanent damage in the body, or even result in death.
Rubbing alcohol is a common household substance used to clean wounds and kill germs. Rubbing alcohol is a kind of alcohol, but it contains isopropanol and is twice as strong as the alcohol found in drinking liquor, ethyl alcohol. Isopropanol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, can be fatal with the consumption of just 240 milliliters. Even when mixed with water, it could make a person sick with only 20 milliliters. Our bodies digest isopropanol very quickly, though it does not metabolize as well as ethyl alcohol. About 20% of the isopropanol metabolizes into acetone, which may create problems in the liver, nerves, and kidneys.
Rubbing alcohol and bleach are consumed both intentionally and unintentionally. Bleach and rubbing alcohol are sometimes used to clean fruit and vegetables from viruses and other germs, which are then eaten with the compounds still on the produce. Even consumed in tiny amounts, the chemicals might cause damage to a person’s body for a long period of time. Some alcoholics drink rubbing alcohol as a substitute when there is no liquor. Bleach is also consumed to try to kill bacteria in the body.
Most people who consume these substances are unaware of the dangers and consequences made to their bodies. After using a chemical substance, a person should wash their hands with soap and water to make sure they do not eat it by accident. Food products without packaging should be washed thoroughly with water after using the chemicals so the dangerous substances are not involuntarily ingested. These compounds and substances are harmful to one’s body and should be carefully handled.