Bottle Bombs – Another Reason to Make Your Home Chlorine-Free

If you’ve heard one detonated you would think its either July 4th or there is gunplay in the neighborhood. Bottle bombs are a cocktail teenagers have discovered that mix a strong chlorine source (chlorine pool tablets or bleach) with a liquid that will turn the household product into highly toxic chlorine gas. Put this mixture in a 2 liter coke bottle and shake vigorously and you have a bottle bomb ready to explode as the chlorine gas builds up to the blowing point. The bomber is usually a prankster looking to shake up a “friend” or school by leaving it outside the building and then running away before the explosion occurs. Talk about hazardous! There are many things that could go wrong including the wrong ratio of ingredients leading to a quicker reaction and harm to the prankster, innocent passersby getting exploded onto, and release of chlorine gas from the explosion that can damage the lungs of anyone unlucky enough to be in the area.

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If you’ve heard one detonated you would think its either July 4th or there is gunplay in the neighborhood. Bottle bombs are a cocktail teenagers have discovered that mix a strong chlorine source (chlorine pool tablets or bleach) with a liquid that will turn the household product into highly toxic chlorine gas. Put this mixture in a 2 liter coke bottle and shake vigorously and you have a bottle bomb ready to explode as the chlorine gas builds up to the blowing point. The bomber is usually a prankster looking to shake up a “friend” or school by leaving it outside the building and then running away before the explosion occurs. Talk about hazardous! There are many things that could go wrong including the wrong ratio of ingredients leading to a quicker reaction and harm to the prankster, innocent passersby getting exploded onto, and release of chlorine gas from the explosion that can damage the lungs of anyone unlucky enough to be in the area. 

Prevent your home from becoming a bottle bomb factory. If you have pool chemicals, keep them under lock and key. Do not bring bleach or other powerful chlorine-based cleaners into the home. These preventive principles are a good idea in any case – high chlorine cleaning and pool products are a potential hazard so treat them with the toxic respect they deserve. 

Blog written by Gary Ginsberg, PhD
Dr. Ginsberg is a public health toxicologist whose research focuses on the unique susceptibilities of children to environmental...