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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Drinking Bleach and Drug Tests

There are all kinds of rumors about ways you can beat a drug test. Obviously the easiest way to pass the test is to avoid taking drugs in the first place, but that's not going to be much help if you've already taken something and are facing a test. According to Snopes, some people drink bleach believing it will somehow clear their system of drugs. While it is unclear where this idea originated, the rumor is out there. Will it work? Will drinking bleach hurt you or kill you? Here's the lowdown:

Drinking Bleach to Pass a Drug Test

Household bleach consists of about 5.25% sodium hypochlorite in water. Specifically, Clorox says their bleach contains water, sodium hypochlorite, sodium chloride, sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide and sodium polyacrylate. They also make scented products that include fragrances. Bleach also contains small amounts of impurities, which aren't a big deal when you're using the product for disinfection or cleaning, but could prove toxic if ingested. None of these ingredients binds to drugs or their metabolites or inactivates them such that you would test negative on a drug test.

What Happens If You Drink Bleach?

So, of course you are wondering what happens if you drink bleach. People have done this and lived to tell the tale. Drinking a small amount of bleach won't kill you, particularly if you dilute it in water, but it is corrosive and can irritate or damage your mucous membranes and esophagus. Ingesting a few milliliters of bleach most likely will irritate your eyes, nose and throat and may cause nausea and vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Vomiting a small amount of bleach is not recommended, since this re-exposes your esophagus to the chemicals and may worsen the damage. Drinking a larger volume of bleach can hurt or kill you. The toxicity results from the chlorine gas that is produced, the corrosivity of bleach and ingestion of sodium (hypernatremia). Chest pain, low blood pressure, shock and possibly coma or death may result from either inhaling too much bleach or drinking it.

The Bottom Line

Drinking bleach won't help you pass a drug test and may make you sick or dead.

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