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Average household contains a variety of products and items that make people’s life easier. However, most of the time-saving products have a serious drawback as they contain hazardous ingredients. The use of cleaning products is considered to be the most frequent way people contact with hazardous substances. As they are common in our households, their harmful characteristics are often not taken into account (Bowen, 1998).
Sometimes, it is unavoidable to use the products with hazardous ingredients; however, the risks can substantially minimized. A good way to prevent negative outcomes of dangerous household products is to find alternatives to them so that you do not have to buy them and keep them in your home. For example, a good alternative for toxic cleaning products is baking soda and vinegar. In other cases, it is possible to choose soap- or detergent-based cleaners or avoid non-water-soluble ones (Dickey, 1990). Another way of preventing possible pollution or emergencies from hazardous household products is to avoid such products if they are in an aerosol form.
To prevent the negative influences of personal hygiene and cosmetic products, one may use natural products such as baking soda and salt instead of toothpaste; yogurt, water, milk, egg, yolk, jojoba oil, etc. as conditioners and moistures; baking soda and deodorant crystals instead of deodorants. Oven cleaners may be substituted with scrub or sprinkle baking soda, while scouring powder can be easily made from dry table salt or baking soda. Straight bleach, vinegar, baking soda or lemon juice may be used instead of toilet bowl cleaner (“Household hazardous waste disposal”, 2014). At the same time, tub and tile cleaner can be substituted with vinegar, baking soda and other ingredients.
Sprays that are often used in households include small parts that can be breathed deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream. Therefore, it is better to buy the products in childproof packaging, make sure you have all the safety equipment needed, carefully read and consider all labeling. In addition, buy only as much of the product as you need, if you have leftovers, give it to someone who will use it so it is not incorrectly disposed of.
Medications are considered to be among the most hazardous products. In case a family has children, it is essential to keep medications away from them. Packaging is not child proof and may lead to lethality. Small children tend to copy their parents and may take tablets if they have easy access to them (e.g. if medications are on the kitchen table). Some syrups taste like candies and this increases the risk. Pills and liquids should be kept in original containers as it is easy to misuse them (“Household safety: Preventing poisoning”, n.d.).
If it is necessary for these household products to be bought, there are control methods that can be used to make sure that they are applied and stored correctly. For example, people should always keep the product out of reach of children, especially during use, and make sure the product is properly cleaned up and sealed. In addition, it is advised to use protective equipment such as goggles, gloves, and others, use the product in well-ventilated areas, and not eat or drink while using the product. Moreover, avoid wearing soft contact lenses (they can absorb vapors and hold the chemical against your eyes), avoid any exposure to such products if pregnant, do not mix products, and always use the correct amounts (“Household hazardous waste”, 2014). People should know that it is dangerous to wear soft contact lenses while working with pesticides and solvents as the lenses tend to absorb chemicals and hold them for some period of time.
To reduce the exposure to hazardous products, people may use water-based or latex adhesives as well as choose rechargeable batteries or mercury-free ones. It is essential to know that hazardous household products should not be stored near food and drinks. All lids must be tightly sealed and be placed in locked cabinets out of reach of animals, children, and those who may use a large amount of them (“Water quality protection”, 2004). Flammable products should be kept away from corrosive products. All containers for hazardous products are to be dry to prevent rusting and be away from heat to avoid ignition. Throw empty cans and container with the left off lid in the trash. If pesticide containers are to be used, it is essential to triple-rinse them. Never bring hazardous product containers to the community recycling center with other containers and cans (“Reducing the use of hazardous household products”, 2013).
All aerosols should be used with caution. Take care not to puncture the can as it may result in explosion. In addition, cans should not be placed near the sources of high heat or thrown when partially used together with the regular trash as they can explode during compaction. Moreover, people should not pour products down the drain or any other waterways except cases when the languid is a drain cleaner (“Safe use and storage of hazardous household products”, 1999).
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If people want to live in safe households, they should not buy more than they need as hazardous products may cause storage-related problems. One of the problems is the possibility of damaging the package or container and causing leaks. Some products cannot be used after long storage or may be banned. It is better to buy the exact amount a person needs.
Unfortunately, many modern products that are believed to be very simple in use and extremely helpful in the household contain toxic ingredients that inevitable affect human body. They may have dangerous characteristic due to the potential for corrosivity, reactivity, toxicity, ignitability, etc. Sometimes, people may be unaware of this fact and make an excessive use of such products. Therefore, it is essential to read all labels carefully even if there are no suspicions regarding the product.
There are a lot of stations that collect hazardous waste. It is a good way to reduce the storage of dangerous waste and decreases the level of negative influences from the empty cans and containers from toxic substances.
Preventive and control methods are the best ways to keep the household safe and decrease problems related to the use and storage of hazardous products. However, the use of hazardous household products may be reduced through the change of maintenance and cleaning habits.