How To Handle Household Chemicals

Using “safe” chemicals has become commonplace in many New Jersey homes, but keeping our families safe from these chemicals is obviously a big concern. Whether you live in Aberdeen or Freehold, Chances are you have some sort of chemical in your home. In fact, we all have hazardous household products in our homes that could potentially harm our families if they are not stored, used, and disposed of properly. Although we use items like bleach, rat poisons, gas, oil, bug spray, drain cleaners, wood polish, and more, the potential to cause immediate and long term damage to our health still exists when used improperly. Children are especially at risk due to a lack of awareness and the fact that smaller amounts of exposure to these toxins can lead to greater harm than in adults.

Additionally, some of our homes could be vulnerable to dangers from how they were built, such as asbestos, lead paint, and radon gases. Protecting ourselves from these dangers can be an actual life or death situation!

Storing and Using Hazardous Products

Some products which are essential to homes can also be hazardous. Handling them safely with appropriate steps is the key.

  • Buy only what you need to do the present task at hand if you can! This will reduce the potential for danger when storing excess product. Dispose of or give leftover products to someone else who may need it.
  • Keep all hazardous products out of reach of children.
  • Post the American Association of Poison Control Center telephone number (800) 222-1222 in your home near a phone or near the hazardous material storage area. 
  • Never mix two products together unless instructed to do so on the label. An example would be bleach and ammonia, which can cause a hazardous reaction.
  • READ THE LABEL.  This has important information regarding potential hazards such as flammability and poison. There might be other key instructions such as “wear protective clothing” or “work in a well-ventilated area” that you need to follow in order to prevent potential negative outcomes.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while using hazardous materials. If possible, do not have children present when using these materials as well.
  • Find safer or organic alternatives for more dangerous products if possible.
  • Dispose of unused products properly. Recycle products such as oil, antifreeze, paint, and products with mercury such as thermometers. Check your township website for disposal locations.

Other Hazards

Other hazards could be present in your home, some that you may not be aware of. Many of these can cause long term damage to your family’s health. Hazards inside your home can include:

  • Radon
  • Asbestos
  • Vermiculite 
  • Lead paint
  • Carbon Monoxide

How to avoid these other hazards

  • Do not smoke cigarettes or cigars inside your house
  • Have the radon levels in your home tested and corrected if they are too high
  • Install a Radon detector
  • Install a Carbon Monoxide detector
  • Have your home inspected to determine if it was built with any dangerous materials such as asbestos shingles, vermiculite insulation, and lead-based paints
  • Have any dangerous building materials removed and replaced

The dangers of hazardous materials can be worrisome enough to make you want to throw out all of your cleaning supplies at times! By taking the appropriate actions to handle, use, and dispose of them correctly you will be able to maintain safety while not completely changing your lifestyle. Being aware of other hazards will also help you to keep your family and home healthy for years to come. 

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