Common Household Toxins The trial rules of Potions and Poisons mention the following toxic household chemicals: Ammonia Hydrogen peroxide Rubbing alcohol Bleach Epsom salts Vinegar Nutritional supplements containing calcium and iron Ammonia The compound ammonia itself is a colorless gas with the formula NH3. However, it is most commonly seen in households as a cleaner, where the gas is dissolved into water. It is most dangerous when mixed with bleach, which causes the release of toxic fumes, which can cause serious respiratory damage, in addition to potential chemical burns, headaches, nausea, or vomiting. Hydrogen peroxide A typical "brown bottle" of hydrogen peroxide Hydrogen peroxide is a colorless liquid. Its compound name is H2O2. It is commonly used as a disinfectant, either for surfaces or for wounds. Because the concentration of most hydrogen peroxide used in households (usually in brown bottles) is low, at about 3%, ingestion of small amounts of hydrogen peroxide (diluted) does not usually cause any significant damage, apart from potential stomach irritation. However, ingesting a large quantity can cause more serious stomach irritation and may even cause chemical burns. Furthermore, ingestion of a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide can cause much more serious symptoms, and death in some cases. Rubbing Alcohol Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol) is an alcohol with the formula C3H8O. It is most often used as a disinfectant. When ingested, it is metabolized into acetone. This can cause dizziness, headaches, vomiting, or even coma. Bleach Bleach is a solution of the chemical compound sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) in water. It is a strong base, with a pH of 12.6. It is most often used as a household cleaner. As mentioned above, mixing bleach with ammonia releases dangerous fumes. Exposure to bleach on its own can cause irritation in the eyes, mouth, skin, and lungs, and can cause burns. Epsom Salts Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate) are salts with the equation MgSO4. They have many uses, including uses as bath salts, as laxatives, face cleansers, cleaners, and as fertilizer. However, ingesting high levels of these salts can cause magnesium overdose, which can lead to slowed heartbeat, lowered blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, and coma or death in serious cases. Vinegar Vinegar is an extremely common household chemical. It is an acidic liquid, a mixture of acetic acid (CH3COOH) and water. It is used in cooking, cleaning, and medicine. However, concentrations of acetic acid higher than 10% can cause skin damage/corrosion. Nutritional Supplements Containing Calcium and Iron An excess of calcium, known as hypercalcemia, may result from overuse of calcium supplements. Symptoms of hypercalcemia include nausea, thirst, lethargy, and muscle weakness; in severe cases, cardiac arrhythmias and palpitations may occur. Iron supplements are often taken for anemia, but iron poisoning can occur and be potentially fatal, especially in children under 5 years old. The GI tract and stomach become irritated and internal cell reactions may be interrupted due to an excess of iron. Vomiting and nausea are some of the earliest symptoms; if untreated, the liver may develop severe scars and fail. It can be treated through bowel irrigation or chelation therapy. Environmental Toxins Iron Iron as an environmental toxin is common in water; drinking this water may lead to effects such as those stated above for iron toxicity. Iron particles may also have an effect on algal blooms and impact the ocean's ability to trap greenhouse gases. Arsenic Arsenic, often consumed through polluted drinking water, may cause skin changes, infertility, and cancer in humans. It often reaches the environment through copper, lead, and zinc industries, and can be found in soil and bodies of water. Too much arsenic in the soil can lead to limited species abundance and diversity, as many plants do not have resistance to arsenic. In the environment, arsenic cannot be destroyed - only its form can be modified. Copper Copper can be released into the environment through mining, metal production, and various industrial settings. Long term exposure to high levels of copper can lead to gastrointestinal issues and possible damage to mucus membranes. Copper easily accumulates in soil and does not break down. Thus, high concentrations occur, which makes it hard for plants to grow, reducing plant diversity and potentially impacting agricultural practices. It may also interrupt decomposition of organic matter in soil and can be damaging to fish and plants in aquatic environments.