We Drank Bleach to Find Out Whether It’s Truly a Bad Idea*

Bleach is great. But so are Nevermind and In Utero.EXPAND
Bleach is great. But so are Nevermind and In Utero.
Garrett Gravley
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Bleach is not only an acclaimed manga and animated television series, but it is also the name of Nirvana’s best album (this isn’t up for debate). While Bleach the album is worthy of glowing praise, bleach the cleaning product is a dangerous substance that can inflict irreparable harm to your body if ingested.

That's not exactly a secret to most, but it nonetheless needs to be stressed. On Monday, the North Texas Poison Center reported a whopping 46 cases of bleach ingestion in August alone. Officials are largely attributing this to online misinformation claiming that bleach can prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"Ingesting bleach or other cleaning products is downright dangerous and can lead to serious injury, including burns," an NTPC spokesperson said.

Apparently, this still needs to be said. According to the Texas Poison Center Network, there has been a nearly 60% increase in calls related to bleach products and other household cleaners from March to June of this year, compared with the same time last year.

The medical and scientific communities are in unanimous agreement that anyone who ingests bleach should immediately contact the Poison Control Center (at 800-222-1222). On the other hand, President Donald Trump gave a contradicting opinion: “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.”

Who can you trust?

Well, it'd be easy for us to say that President Trump irresponsibly passed on dangerous misinformation in suggesting that a disinfectant is an effective treatment for COVID-19, but at least 40 percent of you would likely chalk such a direct statement up to media bias. Today's fair journalists are expected to give those perpetuating scientific falsehoods the same intellectual respect as seasoned experts. We routinely give climate deniers a platform to make claims that conflict with scientific testimony, and even though such a practice is at odds with the fundamental duties of candor and fact-based reporting, it conflicts even further with the goal of mindless objectivity.

Long story short, good judgment, common sense and scientific consensus would have us tell the reader to never, under any circumstances, ingest bleach. That's why most local journalists who have covered NTPC’s recent report have provided this disclaimer and the number for the Poison Control Center (which, again, is 800-222-1222).

But that's only because they're lazy and too trusting of "experts."

We're not the sort of newspaper people to let a little common sense stand in the way of getting the story right, and an old news-biz adage says, “If someone says it’s raining and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both (unless you work for The Dallas Morning News). It’s your job to look out the window and find out which is true.”

Damn straight. So in the interest of looking out this proverbial window, I used a Starbucks straw to sip from a bottle of Clorox Cleaner + Bleach all-purpose solution. At the risk of being accused of liberal bias, I must say the experts were right. Bleach really does burn your esophagus and cause gastrointestinal injuries. But to Trump’s point, it really does do “a tremendous number on the lungs” in that it causes severe pulmonary aspiration.

Anyway, I'm dead now, so there you have it. Bleach can inflict horrific damage to your internal organs and kill you, and it doesn’t have even a smidgen of medicinal value. Take it from a corpse, if you won't believe anyone else.

*Not really. This is satire. For fuck's sake, don't try this at home.

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