Household bleach and pool chlorinator solutions are typically stabilized by a significant concentration of (caustic soda, NaOH) as part of the manufacturing reaction. Skin contact will produce caustic irritation or burns due to and of skin oils and destruction of tissue. The slippery feel of bleach on skin is due to this process.
One major concern arising from sodium hypochlorite use is that it tends to form , some of which are . This can occur during household storage and use as well during industrial use. For example, when household bleach and wastewater were mixed, 1–2% of the available chlorine was observed to form organic compounds. As of 1994, not all the byproducts had been identified, but identified compounds include and . The estimated exposure to these chemicals from use is estimated to be within occupational exposure limits.
Strong chlorine solution made with household bleach is used for disinfecting areas contaminated with body fluids, including large blood spills (the area must first be cleaned with detergent before it can be disinfected). This 1:10 dilution of 5.25%–6.15% sodium hypochlorite with water (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) yields between 5250–6150 ppm available chlorine and is able to inactivate both and .
US government regulations allow food processing equipment and food contact surfaces to be sanitized with solutions containing bleach, provided that the solution is allowed to drain adequately before contact with food, and that the solutions do not exceed 200 parts per million (ppm) available chlorine (for example, one tablespoon of typical household bleach containing 5.25% sodium hypochlorite, per gallon of water). If higher concentrations are used, the surface must be rinsed with potable water after sanitizing.