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Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

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  • Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

    Anyone ever get seriously ill or sick from drain cleaning?? I had gotten sick from openning a manhole acouple yrs ago. Was horrible on the stomache. Had a pain in my stomache, and back. Went to the drs and he said its just probably a stomache virus. Then 2 nights later i was throwing up a mixture of stomache acid and blood. So went to the hospital and they put me to sleep. I had to get a colonoscopy, and an endoscopy (top and bottom). I had a bacteria infection in my kidneys, and my stomache. They gave me antibiotics, and was ok after 2 days... Lets hear those drain cleaning stories
    The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

    www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

  • #2
    Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

    I have been sick a few times, mostly sinus infections, I responded to a emergency call one evening, approx 9pm, The customer used draino in the am, then his nanny came in during the day and dumped something else in,t hey left it for a few hours

    Called me, said they vacated their house, the odor was to bad, I went in with a resporator, had to disconnect the trap and run cable to clear the stoppage, least to say, the porcelain was blistered and gone in places, a tile in sink

    I had to stay very low the floor and leave every five minutes so I could breath, least to say, the job got done, the customer paid for the new cable I was going to need in a few days, and I was compensated for my troubles.

    Of course, the stick orange boogers in my nose for a week or to were annoying!!

    Other then that, chemicals are the worse, I have had burns and stuff, but nothing all that serious.

    I recommend customers stay away from the chemicals like drano etc, very bad to clear the drain, once cleared, bad for the pipe

    On the manhole thing, I always try not to take a wiff when the lid pops off, then I still don't take any deep breath around the pit of ****
    Last edited by westcoastplumber; 08-08-2007, 10:37 PM. Reason: forgot something
    sigpic

    Robert

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    • #3
      Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

      Originally posted by westcoastplumber View Post
      I have been sick a few times, mostly sinus infections, I responded to a emergency call one evening, approx 9pm, The customer used draino in the am, then his nanny came in during the day and dumped something else in,t hey left it for a few hours

      Called me, said they vacated their house, the odor was to bad, I went in with a resporator, had to disconnect the trap and run cable to clear the stoppage, least to say, the porcelain was blistered and gone in places, a tile in sink

      I had to stay very low the floor and leave every five minutes so I could breath, least to say, the job got done, the customer paid for the new cable I was going to need in a few days, and I was compensated for my troubles.

      Of course, the stick orange boogers in my nose for a week or to were annoying!!

      Other then that, chemicals are the worse, I have had burns and stuff, but nothing all that serious.

      I recommend customers stay away from the chemicals like drano etc, very bad to clear the drain, once cleared, bad for the pipe

      On the manhole thing, I always try not to take a wiff when the lid pops off, then I still don't take any deep breath around the pit of ****
      Yes the burns are the worst...I told my burn story last week in the chat room, I had my legs burned from acid so bad that when i took my sock of, it took my skin with it...now to this day i have a huge scar, and it looks like im wearing a sock...ridges and all.
      The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

      www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

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      • #4
        Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

        I get sicker dealing with evaporator coils than I do with sewage. Since I'm navy, I get shots all the time, some I don't even know what for. I did a job like Robert's that involved drano. After I got 2nd degree chemical burns on my legs I swore I won't knowingly do a job like that again. I don't care what the money is. Making $250 now might prevent me from making a $1000 tomorrow.
        Buy cheap, buy twice.

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        • #5
          Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

          while jetting an overhead cleanout in a lobby ceiling, i got a taste of juice just a few drops in the mouth.

          2 days later i was sick as a dog

          lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. and my good friend dr. gary now knows me a little more than i wanted him to gary's a g.i. /colin rectal surgeon.

          some medicine and i was all fixed up in a week. minus the 20#.

          rick.

          once had a ne customer put some kind of drain opener into a sink drain. by the time i got there, there were black shoe prints all over the carpet.

          appears the drain cleaner leaked out of the pipes and onto the carpet. as the owner walked around the house, they melted the rubber off the shoes and onto the carpet

          even my gloves turned colors

          rick.
          phoebe it is

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          • #6
            Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

            Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
            while jetting an overhead cleanout in a lobby ceiling, i got a taste of juice just a few drops in the mouth.

            2 days later i was sick as a dog

            lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. and my good friend dr. gary now knows me a little more than i wanted him to gary's a g.i. /colin rectal surgeon.

            some medicine and i was all fixed up in a week. minus the 20#.

            rick.

            once had a ne customer put some kind of drain opener into a sink drain. by the time i got there, there were black shoe prints all over the carpet.

            appears the drain cleaner leaked out of the pipes and onto the carpet. as the owner walked around the house, they melted the rubber off the shoes and onto the carpet

            even my gloves turned colors

            rick.
            OMG that had to have been nasty stuff
            The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

            www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

              I just thank god for my gravy hvac job. fighting with snakes swimming in acid & human waste more than I could take. My hat is off to anyone man enough to do it.

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              • #8
                Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

                I've never got sick to the point of needing meds but I have noticed That I have a tendency to not be solid if you know what I mean.
                They say DRs nurses and EMT' are on the front line in the event of a major virus outbreak but I'd say we are behind enemy lines doing covert operations. All joking aside we really are in a bad position in the event of some major illness.

                I've almost lost my stomach a few times. It only happens when I open a line at the home of vegetarians. For some reason their waste is particularly odorous. Thank God I'm in Maine and not Calf.
                INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
                Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

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                • #9
                  Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

                  Any Time I Start Drain Job, With Draino Type Products,
                  I Tell Custermer Up Front A Acid Charge In Addtion To What The I Get For Drain Job, I Have 3 Hrs. In Hosp. Emg. Rm. Because Of Acid Burns, And I've Lost Count Of How Many New Cables I Brought Over The Years, Because Of Acid In Drains,

                  Jerrymac Master Plumber
                  JERRYMAC
                  E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                  CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                  FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                  SINCE JAN. 1989

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

                    I don't do major drain cleaning, but whenever I'm clearing a closet or cutting a soil main I breath through my nose...period.
                    I once cut a 4" CI stack and it wouldn't stop dripping, I had gloves on, but they got saturated.
                    I rinsed my hands under the hottest water I could with soap as long as I could stand it.
                    A few days later a small scratch I had on one hand turned into a welt...then spread till it was swollen the size of a grape...the ER told me I had a rare variance of a staff infection and it would not have gone away on it's own.
                    When a customer tells me my price is high for a 15 minute toilet job I just remind myself of that incident and stand my ground.
                    If I lose the job and a competitor is willing to take it...good luck, hope you're still my competitor for time to come.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

                      A few weeks ago I was snaking a drain, I was on the floor snaking it, and my open cuts, from previous jobs/accidents started to burn like crazy, I stopped ASAP and went outside to the hose bib and washed up. I then finished and cleaned up. When I got home to take a shower, and took off my pants, I had a whole area, maybe 3"-3" completely skinless, even the hair got burnt off.

                      I could feel a burning feeling, but I guess the water, and drain cleaner got mixed around on the floor and as I snaked it, it went through my long pants and did it's damage, my cuts also opened and got deepened greatly, the acid like literally ate the skin away, this took several hours to noitce.

                      I was toughing it out, and then a few days after it happened, it started feeling real funny, and I went to the emergency room, they just gave me some burn cream, and a antibiotic. They said if it got worse, to see a doctor and he would have to shave the top layer of skin off so it would heal properly.
                      Proud To Be Union!!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

                        Originally posted by Aaron91 View Post
                        A few weeks ago I was snaking a drain, I was on the floor snaking it, and my open cuts, from previous jobs/accidents started to burn like crazy, I stopped ASAP and went outside to the hose bib and washed up. I then finished and cleaned up. When I got home to take a shower, and took off my pants, I had a whole area, maybe 3"-3" completely skinless, even the hair got burnt off.

                        I could feel a burning feeling, but I guess the water, and drain cleaner got mixed around on the floor and as I snaked it, it went through my long pants and did it's damage, my cuts also opened and got deepened greatly, the acid like literally ate the skin away, this took several hours to noitce.

                        I was toughing it out, and then a few days after it happened, it started feeling real funny, and I went to the emergency room, they just gave me some burn cream, and a antibiotic. They said if it got worse, to see a doctor and he would have to shave the top layer of skin off so it would heal properly.

                        EEEUUUWWW!!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

                          Yes That Happened To A Guy A Worked With Years Ago, He Had To Have Skin Grafts To Cover His Leg, Which They Peeled Off His Back
                          Jerrymac
                          JERRYMAC
                          E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                          CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                          FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                          SINCE JAN. 1989

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

                            Now I know why my guys who do side work run like hell from residential drain stoppages!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Ever get sick from drain cleaning?

                              Safety nut Bob on the soapbox again:

                              but whenever I'm clearing a closet or cutting a soil main I breath through my nose...period.
                              This will not save you. Your nose can perform the function of a respirator with the proper filter. It will only spare you the nasty taste in your mouth.

                              I once cut a 4" CI stack and it wouldn't stop dripping, I had gloves on, but they got saturated. Leather, cotton, or gloves made from similar materials will not protect your hands. Once saturated (as you found out), they are probably worse because they retain the irritant and hold it next to your skin so it can do further damage. They also block you from visually seeing the affect of the chemical on your skin. You won't see you skin reddening or bubbling up from the chemical burns either.


                              I rinsed my hands under the hottest water I could with soap as long as I could stand it. Not sure hot water was the best action here either. Hot water opens the skin pores making it easier for the chemical to be absorbed into thee body. Cool water and plenty of it (most MSDS sheets will say 10 to 15 minutes rinse at a high flow rate) would have been better I think.


                              Crazy as it might sound a pair of chemical splash goggles (NOT safety glasses) should be part of your PPE. After seeing what it can do to your skin in a couple minutes, you likely to be blind in a minute or two if a drain cleaner cocktail mixed up by the HO gets in your eye.

                              I don't do drain cleaning (and this is one reason why), I also don't like to work in the refineries for the same reasons, there's too much stuff in there to kill you. I have on occasion of the years done work in large chemical plants and refineries but there's enough work in our area that I can stay out of there most of the time. If you don't have that choice then you need to protect yourself as best you can.

                              You probably all do this but if it were me I would be asking the HO if they used any chemicals before you arrived to try to clear the drain. I'll bet many are not completely truthful at first but if you tell them the consequences they might change their mind. I'd then ask to see the containers and read the precautions if you are not familiar with the product. Also its good to have the container handy should something happen and you have to go to the hospital, your doctor, or call 911.


                              I know you all get tired of my rants about safety, but if it keeps only one of you from getting injured, I think it is time well spent on my part. In this area to work in a chemical plant or refinery you have to take an 8 hour course in Process Safety Management and pass a 100 Q test. You have to renew that cert every year. There is probably something similar in your area. This is in addition to the OSHA 10 Hour cert. I know this is not drain cleaning, but sloshing through unknown chemicals spilled over the bathroom floor that soak through your clothes, burn your skin, and cause you to go to the hospital doesn't sound much different than some of the accidents I have seen in chemical plants or refineries.

                              Aaron, you action to rinse off was good, but doesn't sound like it was enough. Maybe should have rinsed longer from your jeans and skin. Might not hurt to carry a clean set of jeans or something you can change into. Keep them in a plastic bag in the truck. If you have to change out put the soiled clothes in the bag to keep from getting the chemical on other items in the truck.

                              If you think my obsession with safety is nothing but paranoia then all you have to do is not read my posts on the subject and go blindly about your business, hopefully that won't be in the literal sense.
                              ---------------
                              Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                              ---------------
                              “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                              ---------
                              "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
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                              sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

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