Did you know that you probably have some pretty toxic chemicals in your own home? These chemicals can be hazardous if they fall into the wrong hands. In fact, every year children are hospitalized because they have been able to access and imbibe dangerous chemicals.
What Kind of Chemicals Do You Have in Your Home?
The truth is that most people don’t even know how many or what types of chemicals they have and some of those containers may look friendly, but what’s inside may be quite toxic. Here are just some of the chemicals you might have in your own home:
1 – Cleaners
Many household cleaners contain bleach and other harsh chemicals. Bleach, in any amount, is toxic. Bleach solution on its own can cause chemical burns, sore eyes, or respiratory difficulties if there is not adequate ventilation.
There are also detergents, dish-washing liquids, and laundry powders that contain hazardous chemicals. Though many people try to buy natural cleaners that are not harsh, it’s still worth checking the label for any toxic chemicals.
2 – Garden Chemicals
It’s not just chemicals in your home that are the problem. Many people incorrectly store chemicals outside as well. Weedkiller, pest control, pool chlorine, and fertilizer are all potentially very hazardous.
3 – Gas Bottles
Propane and LPG gas are common household items because they can be used for an outdoor BBQ. But they also need to be stored correctly because not only are they flammable, but they can cause respiratory distress and even unconsciousness if breathed in excessively.
4 – Medications
We should never forget that many common medications are potentially harmful if taken incorrectly or taken by someone who doesn’t need them. Some examples of these are:
- Blood pressure medication
- Antidepressants and other mental health-related medications
- Diabetes medication
- Topical creams
The Best Way to Store Your Chemicals
It’s always important to store chemicals properly in and around the home. This is even more important if there are young children in the home who can potentially access them. In the interests of saving lives, here are some tips on the best way to store your household chemicals:
1 – Read the Labels
Most cleaners and other kinds of chemicals will have a safety label that identifies the best way to store them. In some cases, the label may suggest simply storing them in a safe place, out of the reach of children.
2 – Never Mix Chemicals
Under no circumstances should you ever mix chemicals together. This is because some combinations of chemicals can actually produce poisonous gases or become highly flammable.
3 – Use Original Containers Only
Sometimes, it’s tempting to put common household chemicals, such as cleaners, in other containers. Soft drink bottles, plastic cups, and other containers may make for good storage for other things, but they should never be used for chemicals.
The risk is that a child or even an adult may mistake the chemicals for something else. For example, a soft drink bottle full of a brightly colored cleaner may easily be mistaken for a sugary drink.
It’s true that in some cases it may be necessary to use a different storage container. If the original container is damaged, for example, it may be necessary to transfer the chemicals. In this case, it’s always best to clearly label the new container so that everyone knows what’s inside it.
4 – Use Locked Cupboards and Cabinets
It’s always important to store chemicals safely and one of the best ways to do this is to store them in locked cabinets and cupboards. Some people place chemicals on high shelves, thinking that this will be safe enough. The issue here is that many young children are excellent climbers and will be quite ingenious when it comes to getting what they want.
5 – Dispose of Them Properly
One thing that many people do is dispose of chemicals without much care. They may pour them down a drain, or even just tip them into the yard. Clearly, not only is this environmentally problematic, but it can also pose a risk for pets and children who may come across the chemicals and play with them or ingest them.
It is essential to follow any safety and chemical disposal instructions on the label.
6 – Liquids and Powder Storage
Even if you put chemicals in a locked cupboard. They must be stored in a certain way. Liquid chemicals must never be stored above dry or powdered chemicals. This is because damaged packaging can leak the liquid chemicals and they may mix with the dry chemicals.
In the worst cases, this may cause a flammable reaction or poisonous gases that can endanger animal and human life.
What to Do If There’s an Accident
Hopefully it never happens in your home, but there is always the chance that a child or another adult may accidentally ingest a household chemical or get it into their eyes. So, what should you do in cases like this?
First of all, you need to recognize the symptoms of a possible poisoning. The following symptoms are common for poisoning:
- Pains in the stomach and gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea and vomiting
- Painful throat that may indicate chemical burns
- Difficulty breathing
- Tiredness, fainting, and general confusion
- Possibility of seizures or fits
- Eyes that are red or stinging
- Red or inflamed skin on the face or other parts of the body where a chemical burn may have occurred
If the condition worsens, it’s crucial to call an ambulance and present them with as much information as possible. You may even have a good idea of what chemical the person has ingested.
If the condition is milder, it may be more prudent to call a local poison control center. They can provide good advice on what steps to take. They will then be able to refer it to medical authorities if required.
Most of us have chemicals around the home and it’s important to ensure that they are stored safely. Read the label, follow safety and storage instructions, store them in a locked cabinet, and ensure that you use the original packaging.