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Old 07-29-2004, 10:37 AM
fusoya fusoya is offline
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Drinking Drano

or Liquid Plumber, or generic Stop & Shop brand drain unclogger.... the stuff has always fascinated me in this weird way. I have an awful drain in my apartment's shower so I'm buying the stuff by the gallon, and I'm constantly getting dared by my roommates to drink a shot of it. Now, first of all, I'm not dumb enough to do that (even for $5), but scientifically, what would happen if a person were to attempt to unclog their own system with Drano?

and I'm already aware that the short answer is "they'd die"
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Old 07-29-2004, 10:47 AM
x-ray vision x-ray vision is offline
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I've actually seen this before in the last E.R. I worked in. A teenage girl attempted suicide by drinking Drano. I heard that she'll never be able to pass food oraly again.

Here's one case I found using Google.
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Old 07-29-2004, 10:48 AM
jk1245 jk1245 is offline
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You (chemically) burn the lining of your mouth, esophagus, and stomach. How bad of a burn would depend on how much Drano had contacted your skin and for how long, but you could quite easily die.

The main ingredient is sodium hydroxide (aka caustic soda or lye), and it is *highly* corrosive. Remember in "Fight Club" when Brad Pitt pours some on Ed Norton's hand and makes him sit there while it burns? Think that in your mouth and guts only you can't wash it off.

And that's not even mentioning its toxic effects.
  #4  
Old 07-29-2004, 10:51 AM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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You can learn quite a bit by using Google


Quote:
The prognosis (probable outcome) depends on how rapidly the alkali was diluted and neutralized. Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, eyes, lungs, esophagus, nose, and stomach are possible.

The ultimate outcome depends on the extent of this damage. Damage continues to occur to the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the alkali was swallowed, and death may occur as long as a month later.
Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/e...cle/002777.htm

FWIW, it sounds to me like your roommates are potential Dawrin Award nominees. Don't play their games.
  #5  
Old 07-29-2004, 10:53 AM
brane damaj brane damaj is offline
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Drinking Drain-O is a lot like being in love. At least, that's what Leslie Nielson says.

BTW: I find that the foaming stuff works a heck of a lot better.
  #6  
Old 07-29-2004, 11:06 AM
spingears spingears is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusoya
or Liquid Plumber, or generic Stop & Shop brand drain unclogger.... the stuff has always fascinated me in this weird way. I have an awful drain in my apartment's shower so I'm buying the stuff by the gallon, and I'm constantly getting dared by my roommates to drink a shot of it. Now, first of all, I'm not dumb enough to do that (even for $5), but scientifically, what would happen if a person were to attempt to unclog their own system with Drano?and I'm already aware that the short answer is "they'd die"
Why not 'permanent' type automobile anti-freeze?

It really has a much better taste.
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  #7  
Old 07-29-2004, 11:12 AM
picunurse picunurse is offline
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The most common type of drain cleaner (Drano™) is based on a strong alkaline compound, also know as a caustic. As soon as the liquid or crystals touched the mucus membranes of your mouth, you'd note excruciating pain, from massive tissue damage, equivalent to third degree burns. You would also have massive bleeding and swelling in the damaged areas. If you actually swallowed, your esophagus and stomach would also be burned. The acid in your stomach would then begin to neutralize the the base. If untreated you very likely would die a slow and painful death. If you were especially lucky, the swelling would occlude your airway and you'd asphyxiate .
Treatment, initially, would be supportive. You would have a breathing tube inserted into your nose or through your throat because the swelling would stop your breathing. You'd have several IV lines inserted to give you fluids and blood products
You likely would have several years of reconstructive surgery. Your mouth and esophagus would be destroyed and require rebuilding
You would have a tube placed through your abdominal wall into your small intestine for feeding. The chances of ever being able to eat normally again, would be very slim. Your sense of taste would be gone as well as your teeth.
You would possibly disfigure your face as well, requiring cosmetic surgery to make you look human, once again.

I would strongly suggest seeking a new facination.
  #8  
Old 07-29-2004, 11:26 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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On the positive side, someone who would be dumb enough to drink the stuff would possibly remove themselves from the gene pool, thus sparing us all from having to deal with their progeny.

Additionally, it would take care of those nasty hair clogs in your system.
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Old 07-29-2004, 11:46 AM
Infovore Infovore is online now
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Somebody tangentially connected to my family (I think she was the daughter of a close friend of my grandma) did this when I was a kid. She wasn't very old (maybe 3 or 4) and somebody had left lye in a Pepsi bottle on the table where she found it. (Don't ask me why--this was in the early 70s and my grandma and her friend weren't idiots--it might have had something to do with an art project, but I wasn't very old at the time either so I don't remember the whole story).

The kid survived, though I think it was pretty touch-and-go for quite some time. My mom said she suffered some lasting effects that she's probably still dealing with to this day. I don't know how much she drank, though.
  #10  
Old 07-29-2004, 11:56 AM
picunurse picunurse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy
On the positive side, someone who would be dumb enough to drink the stuff would possibly remove themselves from the gene pool, thus sparing us all from having to deal with their progeny.

Additionally, it would take care of those nasty hair clogs in your system.
Did you mean Bezoars?
  #11  
Old 07-29-2004, 12:42 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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After you get the clog out, there is a MUCH better product for keeping the drains clean, and unblocking slow drains. It works by bacteria & enzymes, and is a LOT safer. It is usually available at Hardware stores and a few larger grocery stores.

Drinking that would just make you sick, I suspect. Don't try it, but definately if you splash it on your hands, all you have to do is wash your hands, it wouldn't burn.
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Old 07-29-2004, 01:07 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Saw an interesting picture of someone who'd died drinking caustic in a textbook on forensic science.

Not a nice way to go.
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  #13  
Old 07-29-2004, 03:08 PM
BurnMeUp BurnMeUp is offline
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Other details can be found in the tale of the Ogden Utah Hi-fi killings where 2 assailants robbed a shop, forced the hostages to drink drain-o and then shot them.

The book of the ordeal is here

There are also numerous websites (easiet to find if you search on Pierre Dale Selby, one of the killers).

At trial they said they got the idea from watching Magum Force, a Clint Eastwood movie where a pimp makes a hooker drink drain-o
  #14  
Old 07-29-2004, 05:44 PM
Harmonix Harmonix is offline
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OFF Topic.

If you live in apartment, then your manager should take care of the slow drain for free. No sense in wasting cash on draino.
  #15  
Old 07-30-2004, 02:23 PM
fusoya fusoya is offline
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wow.

I never realized just how powerful that stuff was.....I can't believe they actually sell it on store shelves and make the bottles so easy to open! My fascination will only increase now. And no, I still won't take a shot of it for $5.

so DrDeth , what is the name of this alternative product you are recommending?
  #16  
Old 07-30-2004, 02:40 PM
Yamirskoonir Yamirskoonir is offline
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Remember that wonderful movie Heathers?

SPOILER:
It's how J.D. and Veronica offed the first Heather, by handing her a hangover cure of liquid drano. Actually, Veronica was the unwitting accomplice since she thought the cup contained milk and orange juice.

Heather actually dies quite quickly, clutching her throat and falling dramatically through a glass coffee table, so I guess the film didn't portray the results accurately. Her last words before she swan-dives through the glass:


CORNUTS!!!
  #17  
Old 07-30-2004, 03:17 PM
The Chao Goes Mu The Chao Goes Mu is offline
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Oh my f***ing god. Absolutely DO NOT run drano through your own pipes bro.
Considering how the stuff works...it DISOLVES the ick that builds up in the drain pipes. It will do that and so much more to your esophogus and stomach.
Jesus H Christ. A few years ago I saw a story on one of those health shows about a man who thought suicide by Drano was the way to go. Ooops, he survived. His espohogus was shot as was his stomach and a portion of his intestines. The docs ran part of his large intestine up to his throat OVER his sternum so he had a nice long lump on his chest. After he swallowed food he had to manually push it down his makeshift gullet. Gah!
Ok so I give you credit for checking out the Straight Dope before partaking in these frat boy shenanigans but really dude.....I can only shake my head.
Maybe you need new friends.
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  #18  
Old 07-30-2004, 04:05 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Chemical drain openers are extremely toxic, extremely corrosive, extremely dangerous, environmentally dangerous, and they do not work. I work in property management, and any plumber will tell you they hate those chemicals. Every plumber has burns from training to open drains after people put in Drano and it doesn't work. They charge more--a $50 unclogging becomes a $150 job.

Drano will eat through PVC pipes, so that's another thing to think about. And your body tissues are weaker than pipes.

Go buy a plumger and a plumber's snake. They will last your lifetime, and are not dangerous. And they work.
  #19  
Old 07-30-2004, 04:30 PM
beltbuckle beltbuckle is offline
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never could figure out why people keep by Draino and other similar products. They usually only marginally help, and are merely a band-aid.

Go buy a sewer snake and fix the problem for good. Most likely cause of slow draining (especially in bathrooms) is hair. A good snaking will have things flowing like new, and will avoid all that toxic crap from going into our sewers (remember, sewer water is often treated to be drinking water). The less unnecessary toxic stuff, the better - and sewer snakes are much cheaper and will last forever in the ling run.
  #20  
Old 07-30-2004, 06:47 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusoya
wow.

I never realized just how powerful that stuff was.....I can't believe they actually sell it on store shelves and make the bottles so easy to open! My fascination will only increase now. And no, I still won't take a shot of it for $5.

so DrDeth , what is the name of this alternative product you are recommending?
Very wise!

There are quite a few varients- I think even Liquid Plumbr makes one. It's not the brand that's important, it's the ingredients. Ask at your local Hardware store.



Oh, and for everone's shower drain- there is a little 2' long plastic thingee, with "backwards" "barbs" on it- shove it down, and then when you pull it out, the hair comes with it. Great for preventing clogs.
  #21  
Old 07-31-2004, 01:24 AM
SnakeSpirit SnakeSpirit is offline
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If someone is daring you to drink Drano or some similar caustic, I rcommend you get a much distance between them and you as is possible.

Or say: "You first!" and then after they do, say, :"Nah, I changed my mind." and walk out and call an ambulance for them, cause they'll need it.
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  #22  
Old 07-31-2004, 07:32 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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I caught a documentary segment about a guy who tried to snuff himself by drinking Draino. Then he changed his mind and called 911. IIRC, they took out his stomach and much of his large intestine. They ran his esophagus outside of his breastbone and under his skin, and he had to move his food down it with his fingers. Since he had no stomach, he had to eat about every 15 minutes in order to get enough nutrition to survive.
  #23  
Old 07-31-2004, 08:30 AM
simply_cats simply_cats is offline
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Hmm... never thought about posting this story, but here goes.

When I was in high school (late eighties), my best friend's mother was a nurse in a large, urban hospital. She had a guy in her charge that had tried to off himself by drinking Drano after it was discovered he had been sexually molesting his infant daughter. Results were pretty much as described, no esophagus... but I always admired her for being able to treat the man professionally, given that she knew the whole story.
  #24  
Old 08-04-2004, 01:27 AM
tim314 tim314 is offline
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I used to work for a suicide hotline. As part of our training, we learned all sorts of gruesome facts about various methods of suicide, so that we could share these facts with callers to try to convince them that this wasn't the way to go. E.g. Cutting your wrists can leave you with claw hands, and so forth.

I was told that ingesting Drano or other such products is generally considered just about the most painful form of suicide there is. (Although I'm sure the infinitely creative members of the SDMB could probably dream up a few even more painful ways.)
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:29 AM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy
Additionally, it would take care of those nasty hair clogs in your system.
I'm not sure that Drano would be effective here. The proteins in hair are better dissolved by imbibing concentrated acid. Don't try this at home.
  #26  
Old 08-04-2004, 06:53 AM
Roches Roches is offline
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If this is a college-roommate type of situation and there's a lot of drinking involved, I'd even more strongly recommend disposing of the Drano (at your local household hazardous waste depot, of course ). I would imagine that a person who was dared to drink Drano would probably have very strong second thoughts as soon as it touched their lips, but even that might cause serious burns and possibly permanent disfigurement.

BTW, the scene in Fight Club where Tyler puts lye on the other guy's hand is a good example of the author/screenplay factor in movies. Burns from acids and bases are always treated by immediately washing the burned area with large amounts of cold water. Attempting to neutralize the acid or base can make matters worse -- you can change an acid burn to a base burn, or you can increase the damage through the large amounts of heat released by neutralization reactions. Most importantly, you waste time. There is a standard lab accident story about someone who got sulfuric acid in his eye and proceeded to calmly calculate and measure the amount of base needed to neutralize it. In the time needed to do this, he went blind in that eye -- and a cold-water eye wash probably would have saved his eye.
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:15 AM
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Before dealing with acid my Chemistry teacher in high school told us about a kid that was messing around during a lab and threw what he thought was a test tube of water at a girls face, in actuality is was some type of acid and burned her horribly. The teacher immediately put her under one of those emergency showers and some of her skin sloughed off. The girl had to have many facial reconstructive surgeries (which the parents kid who threw the acid had to pay for) and was permanently disfigured.
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:17 AM
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that should read: which the parents of the kid who threw the acid had to pay for!
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:28 AM
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My great-aunt committed suicide by drinking lye when she found out that her husband was cheating on her. According to my mother, who was there at the time, it would be hard to pick a more painful, messy, and traumatic way to kill yourself.
  #30  
Old 08-04-2004, 09:04 AM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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I went to school with a boy who had ingested drano or something similar as a very young child. He had some serious white and red chemical burn scars on his neck and other scars from surgery. He was also seriously froggy and had the graveliest voice you could imagine.
  #31  
Old 08-04-2004, 09:22 AM
Achilles Achilles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas
Go buy a plumger and a plumber's snake...
Hey - if you can swallow a plumber's snake you'll make a lot more than $5 on a friday night in my neighbourhood.
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  #32  
Old 08-05-2004, 10:29 AM
fusoya fusoya is offline
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ok, just for the record - this isn't a college/frat thing. We're all post-college, pre-marriage roommates. And my roommates aren't seriously expecting me to do something which they are just as aware of as I am would be fatal. I was mostly just curious in an what-if situation. And based on the excellent feedback (I wouldn't expect any less from GQ), I'm going to invest in a snake and stop bringing such crazy-pyscho-killer juice into my house.
  #33  
Old 11-19-2013, 05:30 PM
EraEnsis EraEnsis is offline
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I have drink Drano twice actually

The first time I was about 2-3 and my babysitter was not pay attention, and my parents must not of had safety locks, I only got some on my lips.
Then when I was in a very down part of my life I consumed it to end my life. Well I am still here but OMG it was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I was in a drug induced coma for 2 weeks. The doctors told my spouse I could suffer brain damage in both reported cases they know about both people had. I was very lucky in that department. I do have terrible eating, always will, but better then the feeding tube they were going to just put in thank GOD my nurse that day. I choke easily do not like to eat in public or around anyone but my family. At least I can sallow a small Ibporfion if needed, could not at first had to work at it with big drinks of water. Oh and eroded the enamel on all of my back teeth, had to have them pulled. I am not sure if I caused other damage oh and I do remember because Oh this I was never to smoke or drink booze again it would kill me, well I am still here and been doing both since, I did drink way to much a year ago too, so do not believe everything they tell you. I am sure that I am one lucky b*t*c* though =) and believe will never go there again, Oh and I had a daughter who is almost 3 now also
  #34  
Old 11-19-2013, 06:00 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Since this thread is over nine years old, I'm going to close it.

Colibri
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