Safely Managing Household Hazardous Chemicals/Waste
The household hazardous products we use make our lives easier and more convenient. We do not need to stop using these products completely. Informed householders who are concerned about the health and the environmental risks associated with hazardous products can take steps to minimize these risks and protect themselves, their families and the environment. These steps include use reduction, waste reduction and proper disposal of unwanted materials.
Once a household hazardous product is in your home, safe use and proper storage will greatly reduce the health and environmental risks associated with exposure to these chemicals. Following label directions, using only the amount needed, wearing protective clothing and using products in well ventilated areas are ways to reduce risk while using hazardous chemicals. Storing products in locked cabinets, keeping stored products away from heat, sparks, or flames, making sure lids and caps are tightly sealed and childproof and keeping containers dry are all ways to ensure proper storage of these products. If you choose to buy products that contain hazardous ingredients, ensure their safe usage and proper storage.
Because of the potential risks associated with household hazardous chemicals/wastes, it is important that people always use, store and dispose of materials containing hazardous substances safely by following these tips.
- Use and store products containing hazardous substances carefully to prevent any accidents at home. Never store hazardous products in food containers. Keep the product containing hazardous materials in its original container and never remove the label. Material in corroding containers, however, should be re-packaged in the same type of container and clearly labeled.
- When leftovers remain, never mix household hazardous chemicals/wastes with other products. Incompatible chemicals may react, ignite or explode.
- Follow all directions on the product's label for use and disposal options.
- Hazardous materials thrown in the trash may pose an immediate threat to sanitation workers when incompatible wastes react. If deposited in a landfill, the wastes may pose a long term threat to drinking water supplies if they leach into the ground water. Toxic fumes may be released into the air if these materials are burned in municipal incinerators not equipped with sophisticated pollution control devices. Household hazardous chemicals/wastes poured down the sink drain may corrode plumbing, collect in traps and release fumes and cause septic system malfuntions which may contaminate ground water supplies or interfere with the operation of municipal sewage treatment facilities.