Re: Chlorine bleach rinse
From: Howard Landman (
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 15:36:49 -0600 (MDT)
>> "Pandora's Poison: Chlorine, health and a New 
>> Environmental Strategy" March 2000, MIT Press, argues that chlorine and 
>> organochlorine chemicals made from it pose global health and environmental 
>> threat. 

This is true.  C-Cl bonds do not biodegrade under most circumstances, and
many C-Cl compounds (like DDT & Agent Orange & PCBs) are fairly nasty to
have hanging around.

> Clorox claims that there is a difference between chlorine and chlorine
> bleach, and that chlorine bleach, while made with chlorine, contains
> no free chlorine itself.  It is actually sodium hypochlorite.

This is also true.  Well, almost - it's possible for NaOCl to react with
something else to *produce* free chlorine.  So there's probably a small
amount of free chlorine in bleach.

> Made
> from salt (sodium chloride) it mostly returns to salt.  That which
> doesn't return to salt biodegrades in sewage treatment or septic
> system.

"Mostly" I'll believe, it's the remaining fraction that's worrisome.
I also don't think bleach can be said to "biodegrade".  It may degrade,
but it seems more likely to be by purely chemical means.

> If you are willing to believe Clorox, there is no environmental danger
> to using chlorine in the kitchen.

Well, at a bare minimum there's the danger of getting bleach in your food.

        Howard Landman

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