Re: bleach and ammonia (was Re: Cutting boards and vegetarians)
From: administration (
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 21:23:17 -0700 (MST)
I am terribly sorry to be so sticky about this subject?most of you got
probably quite tired of it. But I feel I have to clarify a few more things.
I received a couple of private letters and am now very worried about it.
Apparently, at least some (but could be many?) people in North America
believe that bleach is not only an acceptable sterilizing agent but is
actually far superior to boiling water.

I know, I sometimes make muddy statements that may be difficult to
understand. When I said that I remembered my mother boiling water for hours,
I didn?t mean to say she was boiling baby bottles. My mother was sterilizing
her syringes. We didn't have disposable needles and she didn't trust oral
antibiotics (or maybe they were not available either.) She is a
hospital-trained pediatrician and she kept me on a steady supply of
antibiotics, and maybe some other stuff. I remember times where my thighs
were completely covered with black bruises.

Anyway, the people who wrote to me, dip their babies? bottles and rubber
nipples in bleach. That makes me very scared. I mean no disrespect here, and
please, forgive me if you feel it is wrong to bring these private letters
up. I believe we all, to a different extend, end up being victims of
misinformation. Boiling nipples, bottles, and toys for 10 minutes is ALL
that is needed to make them safe for your children. Bleach, on the other
hand, a) is not safe, b) will probably corrode plastic and rubber, and 3)
will NOT clean as well as 100o centigrade. If you don't believe me, call
your public health nurse, bottle manufacturer, or a pediatrician.

As far as protection against virulent bugs, like AIDS, is concerned: a) they
don?t get transmitted thru food and other kitchen contact (unless you are
planning on cutting yourself regularly there), b) "dipping" in bleach, even
full strength, will NOT kill those viruses ? not enough surface contact for
one thing. You can call your local dentist and ask him/her if they dip their
equipment in bleach before putting it into your mouth as part of their anti
AIDS and hepatitis routine. I am sure, there are tons of publications on the
WWW on microbiology with chapters relating to sterilizing.

In my previous post, I was trying (maybe unsuccessfully) to point out that
no matter how strong the bactericidal properties (germ killing power) of a
particular substance may be, a great amount of time is usually required to
actually kill enough of the germs. (Though there are some very sophisticated
machines, available now, that do it quickly. My husband has a little bowl in
his office, filled with some transparent little pellets, and he does dip his
instruments in there ? some sort of radiation, I didn?t get which one. He
says it kills viruses ? perhaps it does. . .)

best wishes
Toronto, Riverdale

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