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intrepidium's avatar

Can exposure to fumes from cleaning products or chlorine affect IQ?

Asked by intrepidium (1220points) July 8th, 2011

I use bleach (neat or sometimes watered down) quite a bit as a cleaning product. Does exposure to the fumes of chlorine and other such cleaning products affect one’s IQ over time?

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11 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I would worry more about your lungs and eyes.

Bleach doesn’t rinse the brain cells out.

snowberry's avatar

Workplace safety data sheets (WSDS) warn that sodium hypochlorite may be a neurotoxin and cause liver damage. I don’t know about brain damage, but the fact that it’s referred to as a possible neurotoxin makes me think it’s a possibility.

gailcalled's avatar

The oncology practice where my doctor works strongly recommends that I, as a breast cancer surviver, never swim in a chlorinated pool.

Cancer, chemo and radiation leave most of us with some brain fog, so it’s an indirect link.

marinelife's avatar

“Do household cleaning products pose a risk in pregnancy?
Although some household cleansers contain solvents, there are many safe alternatives. Read labels carefully and don’t use products (such as some oven cleaners) whose labels state that they are toxic.

Products that contain ammonia or chlorine are unlikely to harm your unborn baby, although their odors may cause you nausea. Open windows and doors and wear rubber gloves when using these products. Never mix ammonia and chlorine products because the combination produces fumes that are dangerous for anyone.

If you’re worried about household cleansers or bothered by their odors, you can use safe, natural products instead. For example, use baking soda as a powdered cleanser to scrub greasy areas, pots and pans, sinks, tubs and ovens. You also can use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean many surfaces, such as countertops.”


snowberry's avatar

It also depends on how much bleach you’ve been exposed to. The information from @marinelife‘s link is true if you aren’t exposed to very much chlorine.

In addition if you are sensitive, I’m guessing it’s a bigger deal than if you’re not. I know some children who were absolutely a train wreck every day after swim class. Symptoms included headache, crying, short temper, and an inability to concentrate, which lasted for several hours after the class. We finally concluded that it was the heavily chlorinated pool water, because symptoms stopped as soon as classes stopped. Their symptoms went away, but we’ll never know if there was a little brain damage as a result.

Cruiser's avatar

I almost never use store bought cleaners anymore. Once I found out how cleaners do contain some rather nasty chemicals that manufactures can put in them and get away with it by putting ORMD labels on their products.

blueberry_kid's avatar

Kind of, because wouldn’t be like huffing spray paint?

WasCy's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Thank you! for this question.

I now have the perfect explanation for the state of my house: I’m not taking any chances.

Can you help me to explain my dog-hair carpet, too?

So, no, I don’t have an answer to your question, but let’s err on the side of caution, and avoid them all.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

Unless you’re prepubescent, the likelihood that long-term exposure to chemicals like bleach will affect your neurophysiology is very small. Conceivably, you might lose a few brain cells if you ingested that stuff, but then you’d probably also die.

YARNLADY's avatar

It depends on the nature of the exposure, but there are no long term studies to address your issue.

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