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View Full Version : Would mixing urine and bleach create toxic fumes?


Crazy Boob
07-18-2002, 08:20 PM
I remember being told once not to mix ammonia and bleach because it would create some sort of "mustard gas." I've also heard that urine contains ammonia. So would pissing into a bucket of bleach do anything or what?

bare
07-18-2002, 08:45 PM
If you haven't ever peed into a toilet that someone has bleach soaking in, you haven't experienced much. It's nasty and definately toxic.

It's nasty enough you'll likely flush it down and make your escape before you are overcome by the fumes.

bibliophage
07-18-2002, 09:03 PM
According to one of my Chemistry textbooks, the danger of mixing bleach and ammonia comes from the production of hydrazine, not mustard gas.

2NH3(aq) + OCl-(aq) ---> N2H4(aq) + Cl-(aq) + H20(l)

I don't believe there's much ammonia in fresh urine. Most of the nitrogen in urine is in urea. I have no idea how urea reacts with bleach.

SmackFu
07-18-2002, 09:18 PM
Originally posted by bibliophage
According to one of my Chemistry textbooks, the danger of mixing bleach and ammonia comes from the production of hydrazine, not mustard gas.Actually, the danger is that chlorine ion, aka chlorine gas. While not mustard gas, it was used as a chemical weapon in WWI. Nasty stuff.

Karellen
07-18-2002, 10:30 PM
Chlorine gas is toxic to breathe (can seriously damage both nasal passages and brain cells in large doses) and is flammable to boot .

Remember the pipe bombs Michael Biehn was making in the first "Terminator"? I do believe those were bleach-ammonia. So if you're gonna piss in your Clorox, don't smoke.

dwc1970
07-19-2002, 01:21 AM
Originally posted by Karellen
So if you're gonna piss in your Clorox, don't smoke.

I must say this would make a good sig. :D

fatbutter
07-19-2002, 06:45 AM
Urea degrades under microbial action to form ammonia. If you urinate then, say, go on holiday without flushing, you will definitely notice the ammonia smell on returning.

Alkaline solutions can react with bleaches to form chloride ions and there would be a risk of some chlorine formation.
Essentially, if you flush your toilet, it's not a problem.

BTW, don't ever mix different brands of cleaning products, since they might possibly react quite quickly to form noxious fumes.

Sigene
07-19-2002, 07:36 AM
So if chloride ions are all that nasty, We will have to do something about all that salt water thats around us. I've got a 3 molar solution of NaCl on my bench, should I call a HazMat team? Will it "spontaneously" form chlorine gas?

It's been my understanding that the reaction of ammonia and bleach is still under some dispute.

http://www.leas.ca/publications/bleach.htm
Untitled Document

http://www.ilpi.com/msds/ref/incompatible.html
The MSDS HyperGlossary: Incompatible

http://newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/chem00/chem00776.htm
Bleach and Ammonia </.head>

After about 2 minutes of looking on Google.

I hope those links work

DougC
07-19-2002, 04:00 PM
Remember the pipe bombs Michael Biehn was making in the first "Terminator"? I do believe those were bleach-ammonia.
- - - I am not any authority on the subject, but in my excessively misspent youth, I don't ever recall making any explosives with bleach at all. Ammonia, yes. Bleach, no. What explosives involve bleach as an ingredient?
...
(Grocery store, what a wanker. Any delinquent worth his unfiltered Camels knows that if you wanna make bombs, you go to the auto parts store! sheesh!)

Squink
07-19-2002, 04:41 PM
I don't ever recall making any explosives with bleach at all.
Bleach breaks down into chlorate. Chlorate is a powerful oxidizer, and is used in a variety of pyrotechnic and explosive devices.

Squink
07-19-2002, 04:47 PM
I don't ever recall making any explosives with bleach at all.
Bleach breaks down into chlorate. Chlorate is a powerful oxidizer, and is used in a variety of pyrotechnic and explosive devices.

rowrrbazzle
07-19-2002, 09:02 PM
I lived in California for a number of years, during which there was a drought and everyone was urged to flush only when necessary. I would clean my toilet with ¼ cup of bleach and later pee without flushing before or afterwards, even for hours. Nary a hint of toxic fumes.

Guinastasia
07-19-2002, 09:21 PM
Didn't some of the doughboys use clothes soaked in their own piss as gas masks?

g8rguy
07-19-2002, 09:37 PM
Chlorine gas is, of course, Cl2, not Cl-. I suppose that in principle if you had enough of the ion sitting around with the right other substances, you could manage to get it to react to form a poisonous gas, but then again, people don't seem to have too much problem with dying by standing next to brackish water (lots of chlorine from the dissolved salt) or hydrochloric acid, so I'd think the risks from that are slight. The hydrazine explanation sounds more reasonable to me, but it's been a few years since I was a chemist.

Actually, checking my various texts and the CRC, it looks like ClO- (hypochlorite) is a typical bleaching agent but is not overly involved with redox reactions in that the standard reduction potential is not large. As Squink says, ClO3- (chlorate) is another story entirely, but I would have thought that people who make bleach would want to create a product that isn't likely to lead to the formation of this less than entirely charming species.

JS Princeton
07-19-2002, 10:58 PM
OK, this was enough of an interesting mystery to me that I began to dust off my chemistry background. What I have to say is basically a WAG, but I think it may have the answer in some form.

I was inspired mostly from the final site that Sigene gave us. From that URL, it at first it seems that the danger is not chlorine gas but rather chloramine gas. That is NH_2Cl. This and other nitrogen hydrochlorides with which it will be in equilibrium are particularly nasty (as one of my favorite chemistry professors liked to classify compounds that were dangerous). For example, NCl_3 that will explode when exposed to sunlight.

It is possible, however, for some of the nitrogen hydrochlorides to undergo some oxidation/reduction reaction I have buried away somewhere in my brain from organic chemistry that will release a Cl_2 product, so chlorine gas is also a danger. I tried to work it out, and it seems plausible, though probably fairly unlikely.

This actually satisfies a nagging problem I've always had when hearing this old-wivish proclamation about never mixing chlorine and ammonia. It always bothered me because I knew they were both bases... so there was no danger in forming a neutralization reaction (ala baking soda and vinegar). I'd also heard about chlorine gas being formed, but as others have rightly pointed out this requires pretty special circumstances in order for it to occur. Mostly it requires getting a chlorides into an oxidation state that requires a significant activation energy or catalyst to allow for it to happen. The peculiar chemical properties of N, O, and Cl in odd ratios together with the fact that they are both bases seems to actually allow for the formation of chlorine gas. Eureka!

However, the ratios of which chloramines and chlorine are produced is the real question. Are you going to die of chloramine poisoning, chlorine poisoning, or frustration from trying to figure out the kinetics and thermodynamics of these reactions in order to determine which products will actually occur and in what quantities?

red_dragon60
07-19-2002, 11:54 PM
JS is right, you make chloramine. It is really nasty stuff. There was a story recently around here of a guy who would mix bleach and ammonia and pour it on his outside stairway so people wouldn't use it. A chemist wrote in to the paper explaining that it made chloramine and that's what caused the burning eyes and nausea that followed people who breathed it in. Chloramine is a war gas, just to put it in perspective.

g8rguy
07-20-2002, 12:04 AM
I move we do the experiment, since I'm far far far too lazy to work out the kinetics. My guess is still that Cl2 is not likely to be a major contributor.

From the data in my freshman chem book (hey, it's good enough...), I get DGhydrazine to be about -60 kJ/mol. I can't find chloramine either there or in Atkins or in my CRC, so I'm just estimating using bond energies. Conveniently, DG more or less cancels for the rest of the reaction and it's just DG for NH2 + Cl -> NH2Cl, which looks to be on the order of ~ -200 kJ/mol. So thermodynamically, assuming I haven't messed up any figures, JS Princeton has it right that chloramine will be favored over hydrazine. I'm not even going to touch the kinetics or the redox stuff at this point, because I've realized that it's late on a Friday night and I... am doing chemistry. That's really sad.

And on preview, what red_dragon said.

rockystarr
07-20-2002, 12:26 AM
I'm new here but i think my guardian angel somehow started this thread then caused me to register and come here first thing.

i did recently put clorox in a bucket, add Purple Lightening tile cleaner, and before I could get my gloves on, I was poisoned, roomie had to call poison control, i fainted, instant headache like a stroke, hit the ground. control said to wash me, strip and wash clothes, get out of area of poison. i was down weak as kitten for 6-7 hours. headache 24 hrs. i had been warned but wanted mildew off jacuzzi more than....uh...life, i guess.

DUH! all good posts on this.

rockystarr
07-20-2002, 12:28 AM
I'm new here but i think my guardian angel somehow started this thread then caused me to register and come here first thing.

i did recently put clorox in a bucket, add Purple Lightening tile cleaner, and before I could get my gloves on, I was poisoned, roomie had to call poison control, i fainted, instant headache like a stroke, hit the ground. control said to wash me, strip and wash clothes, get out of area of poison. i was down weak as kitten for 6-7 hours. headache 24 hrs. i had been warned but wanted mildew off jacuzzi more than....uh...life, i guess.

DUH! all good posts on this.

rockystarr
07-20-2002, 12:28 AM
I'm new here but i think my guardian angel somehow started this thread then caused me to register and come here first thing.

i did recently put clorox in a bucket, add Purple Lightening tile cleaner, and before I could get my gloves on, I was poisoned, roomie had to call poison control, i fainted, instant headache like a stroke, hit the ground. control said to wash me, strip and wash clothes, get out of area of poison. i was down weak as kitten for 6-7 hours. headache 24 hrs. i had been warned but wanted mildew off jacuzzi more than....uh...life, i guess.

DUH! all good posts on this.

scm1001
07-20-2002, 06:58 AM
I have heard that mixtures of chlorine and ammonia (chloramines) can be explosive, but have not been able to track down anyoneone who has blown up their toilets with it (definitely toxic though)

much more interesting are mixtures of iodine and ammonia which form black ammonia triiodide which is a touch explosive when dry. Used to give the cleaners in the chemistry department a real shock in the middle of the night. Hee, hee they never caught me.

scm1001
07-20-2002, 07:00 AM
I should add before anyone shops me to the FBI that I only used very small amounts - enough to make a little bang and puff of smoke but not dangerous

Annie-Xmas
07-20-2002, 07:46 AM
To clean your toilet or remove mold from anything, use borax. It does a better job without the danger of toxic fumes (just don't eat it). Buy it in the laundry section.