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Spectrum of sodium hypochlorite toxicity in man—also a concern for nephrologists

Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is the active ingredient in household bleach and is a very common chemical. It has been used in medical and commercial situations dating back to the 18th century for its disinfectant properties, including topical use in medicine as an antiseptic. For this indication, NaOCl is a proven and safe chemical. However, exposure of NaOCl beyond topical use, whether it is intentional or accidental, is associated with significant risks due to its strong oxidizing properties. Potentially damaging scenarios include ingestion, inhalation, deposition into tissue or injection into the bloodstream. All of these scenarios can lead to significant morbidity and even mortality. In this review, we examine the toxicity associated with NaOCl exposure and analyze potential mechanisms of injury, placing special emphasis on the potential for renal toxicity. Due to the extreme ease of access to household bleach products and its use in medicine, it is important for the clinician to understand the potential damage that can occur in NaOCl exposures so that complications can be prevented before they arise. Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation Plus, 2011. doi: 10.1093/ndtplus/sfr053.

Author: Peck B, Workeneh B, Kadikoy H, Patel SJ, Abdellatif A

Published: 01/07/2011

Publication Type: Journal article

Publisher: Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation Plus