Making Chlorine Gas in Your Home

And How to Avoid It

We are surrounded by all sorts of hazards in our modern age. Just as a for instance nicotine is a deadly poison, but you can easily pull it out of cigarettes. The additives in your food can be hazardous to your health, especially if you have an allergy that you were unaware of. And if you aren't careful cleaning up your messes and sanitizing your bathroom you could very easily turn your neat, clean house into a place as deadly as a front line trench in the first World War.

You see chlorine gas was first developed as a weapon by Germany in that bygone war, and it's still used to this day by a variety of forces, including insurgents and terrorists. And if you were to look under your sink right now, chances are pretty good that you have all of the necessary components on hand. Do you have bleach and ammonia? Then you have everything you need to create this gas which has accidentally killed more than a few overzealous housekeepers.

When you pour bleach and ammonia into a container together some interesting chemistry happens. First the bleach is transformed into hydrochloric acid, which is a very caustic and dangerous material in its own right. Next that hydrochloric acid reacts with the ammonia, which results in chloramine. Chloramine is a toxic fume that, when inhaled, can damage the lungs and cause unconsciousness and death. If you had more ammonia than this chemical reaction required then you may also make liquid hydrazine. This reaction can lead to explosive results, and even if the liquid hydrazine doesn't blow up in your face it can bubble and boil, shooting out corrosive chemicals and deadly gas, turning a routine cleaning into a death trap.

Of course your average person wouldn't do this on purpose, and you should always label your cleaning chemicals carefully to avoid this dangerous cocktail. Additionally, if you think that you've accidentally mixed these two together you should vacate the area for fresh air immediately. Turn on a fan (chemical labs will have a hood that will suck out dangerous fumes), and get help immediately to be sure that your symptoms aren't just slow to present. If you have been exposed to chlorine gas then breathing will become difficult, you'll find that your chest hurts, your eyes water profusely, and that you cough and vomit. Lips and tongue dry out, and damage can be done to your body even if you survive the exposure.

When it was manufactured purposefully chlorine gas was a valued weapon because it is a heavy gas that will stay in a room or drift down into trenches or shelters. It was compressed and transported in cylinders and bombs that, once placed in the right area, would explode and flood the area with released chlorine gas that would kill those without respirators and gas masks to hand.