Bleach is involved in more household poisonings than any other chemical. Inhaling solvents that contain bleach, such as Comet, causes a wide variety of dangerous side effects. Comet, and many other similar cleaners, contain dangerous chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite, also known as bleach, which can cause serious short and long term side effects if inhaled.
The vapors from Comet can cause irritate your skin, eyes and mucous membranes, according to Comet's own warning label. Professional cleaners who are regularly exposed to the vapors of cleaners should use masks to protect themselves from overexposure to harmful vapors.
Heart and Breathing Conditions
Inhaling Comet is especially dangerous for people with a heart condition or who have chronic respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma. People with these health issues are recommended not to use Comet by a health warning label on the container.
Sodium hypochlorite can react with organic material in our environment and create highly carcinogenic compounds. These compounds, if inhaled, can increase our chances of contracting certain forms of cancer, such as testicular cancer and breast cancer, according to Joyce E. Meredith, Ph.D. and West Virginia University.
Endocrine and Reproductive System Disorders
The compounds formed by bleach and organic materials can also imitate the function of human hormones, according to Meredith. This can cause serious health problems, such as damage to the body's endocrine and immune systems, as well as a low sperm count.
Minor Side Effects
Even if serious health problems do not occur, inhaling Comet can have lesser but still painful and uncomfortable side effects. These include a dazed appearance, a splitting headache and a red rash around areas which have been in contact with the vapors.
In some cases, a psychological dependence or addiction to inhaling solvents, such as Comet, can develop. Addiction to inhaling solvents can be hard to treat and increases the chances of being exposed to higher concentrations of bleach and other harmful chemicals.