Just because your home is clean doesn?t mean it?s safe. It?s hard to know what chemicals are safe to use when cleaning, especially since the producers of cleaning products do not have to list ingredients. There is a growing body of evidence that the chemicals we bring into our homes to keep it clean may be contributing to illnesses such as asthma, cancer and other health concerns. When cleaning our homes we must consider the environment, our pets and ourselves.
Your first line of defense is to look for the hazard symbols on any product BEFORE you buy. The symbols inside the inverted triangle are meant to warn you of the dangers of product use.
Household hazardous waste symbols Corrosive ? this product will burn skin and eyes on contact; throat and stomach if swallowed E.g.: bleach, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, batteries, pool chemicals Flammable ? this product, or its fumes, will catch fire easily if it?s near heat, flames, or sparks Ex: gasoline, paint thinner, nail polish, rubbing alcohol, aerosol paint, propane Reactive / Explosive ? can detonate or explode through exposure to heat, sudden shock, or pressure There are 2 symbols. Inverted triangle (like yield sign) means container is dangerous E.g.: aerosol cans, propane tanks, fuel tank Octagon (like stop sign) means contents inside container are dangerous E.g.: solvents, acetone, bleach when mixed with ammonia or any acid or base Toxic / Poison ? licking, eating, drinking, or sometimes smelling this product will cause illness or death E.g. hair dye, antifreeze, contact cement, paint thinner, wood stain, fertilizers, pesticides Before purchasing any products with hazard symbols consider safer alternatives.
Not all dangers are revealed by symbols. Some cleaning products have ingredients that may pose dangers to your health that are not revealed anywhere on the label. Companies must supply an ingredient list upon request, and some research may be necessary to identify the potential risks associated with those ingredients.
The Internet is an excellent source for information in this area.
Being environmentally conscious about your cleaning products often means being health conscious too. There are many commercial environmentally friendly products available if you take the time to look for them.
The Waste Reduction Office has two brochures available (Live Clean and Green and Keep Your Home Clean and Green) of recipes for safe ? and healthy – cleaning solutions. Most of the recipes? ingredients are probably already in your home ? salt, baking soda and vinegar. There is much more information on pRRRdy?s website, www.prrrdy.com/household.php. Contact TR eco-educator at 242-4696 or the Waste Reduction Office (1-888-689-6328 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for your free copies and