McDonalds
A McDonald's in Georgia was the site of a toxic fume problem where one woman died. Image: Flickr / avlxyz / CC-BY-SA

A Georgia McDonald’s has re-opened for business after toxic fumes killed one and sickened several. One elderly woman who was pulled unconscious out of the bathroom died. No cause has been confirmed yet, but emergency responders have theorized that a toxic mix of cleaning chemicals might be to blame.

Dangerous fumes in McDonald’s

At a McDonald’s in Georgia, near Interstate 95, a customer became concerned when his 80-year-old wife did not return from the restroom after 10 minutes. An employee went into the restroom to check on the woman and found two people unconscious. Several other customers were having difficulty breathing, and first responders were called. The first few emergency responders did not have hazardous material gear and also inhaled the toxic fumes.

10 people hospitalized

In total, 10 people had to be hospitalized. Three firefighters and seven customers had inhaled the fumes, and 80-year-old Ann Felton passed away a few hours after she was admitted to the hospital. The family plans on having an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Until the cause has been determined, officials from the McDonald’s and first responders are refusing to comment.

Toxic cleaning mixture a likely culprit

Though no official culprit has been named, some sources are saying a mixture of cleaning chemicals is likely a cause. Bleach and ammonia are two of the best-known chemicals that, when combined, create toxic fumes. These chemicals are not the only two chemicals commonly used for bathroom cleaning that can cause toxic fumes.

Natural cleaning alternatives

Avoiding potentially toxic situations when cleaning a bathroom is possible, but must be done carefully. You can avoid mixing chemicals while cleaning. An alternative option, however, is to switch to cleaning with products such as vinegar, baking soda and pumice stone, which are natural and non-toxic.

Sources

Savannah Now http://savannahnow.com/news/2011-09-08/9-hospitalized-after-inhaling-fumes-pooler-mcdonalds#.TmpVYGOP-_0
Global Post http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/110908/mcdonalds-toxic-fumes-died
Earth Easy http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

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