Side Effects of Sodium Carbonate

Sodium carbonate is a chemical present in a variety of commonly used industrial and household products, such as certain bleaching agents, automatic dishwashing detergents and glass and paper products, MedlinePlus says. This substance, also referred to as soda ash or washing soda, may cause severe side effects if swallowed, inhaled or exposed to the skin. If you develop symptoms of sodium carbonate poisoning, seek emergency medical care.

A man scoops powdered bleach into the washing machine. Credit: baloon111/iStock/Getty Images

Difficulty Breathing

Inhaling air-borne sodium carbonate may cause severe respiratory side effects, such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. This toxic substance may inflame your throat or respiratory tract and may cause difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or wheezing. Without appropriate medical intervention, breathing difficulties may cause life-threatening medical complications.

Stomach Upset

Accidentally swallowing sodium carbonate may cause significant irritation along your digestive tract or stomach. You may feel nauseous or begin vomiting, says. Diarrhea may also occur and may result in frequent, loose bowel movements. Severe or persistent nausea, vomiting or diarrhea should be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible to ensure you receive appropriate treatment and care.

Skin or Eye Irritation

Skin or eye irritation may occur if these body regions are exposed to sodium carbonate. Your skin or eyes may appear unusually red or inflamed and may begin to itch profusely. Eye irritation may also occur in conjunction with mild to moderate eye pain.

Oral, Chest or Abdominal Pain

This toxic chemical may cause side effects of mild to severe oral, chest or abdominal pain. If you develop sudden or severe pain in any of these body regions, contact a medical professional as soon as possible. Such side effects may also be signs of alternate medical problems, such as a heart attack or appendicitis.


Excessive consumption or exposure to sodium carbonate may cause shock. Shock occurs due to severely low blood pressure and may be life-threatening. Symptoms of shock include dizziness, bluish skin, confusion, weak pulse, shallow breathing, anxiety, chest pain or loss of consciousness, MedlinePlus reports. Emergency medical care is required if you experience symptoms of shock.

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