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Handling Hazardous Materials at Home

Many common household products contain chemicals that can cause injury or death if they are not handled, stored, or used correctly.

Some of the household products that contain hazardous chemicals are oven cleaners, tile cleaners, toilet-bowl cleaners, liquid drain openers, antifreeze, chrome-wheel cleaners, rust removers, gasoline, motor oil, lead paint, turpentine, lacquer thinner, and muriatic acid.

These safety precautions can help keep you and your family safe.

Safety musts

Follow these safety precautions:

  • Carefully read the ingredient list of any product or chemical you use. The label can also tell you how to use the correct protective equipment, how to handle the chemicals, and how to respond to emergencies. The label will tell you if the substance is flammable, corrosive, or may cause cancer. It will also state whether you should use eye protection, gloves, or other equipment.

  • Purchase the correct personal protective equipment like gloves or goggles. Clean and care for them correctly.

  • Be aware of the hazardous materials you come in contact with. Learn about the specific characteristics and dangers.

  • Follow safe procedures when you handle hazardous material. Don't take shortcuts.

  • Handle, store, and get rid of hazardous materials safely and according to approved procedures. Never pour them down sewers or drains.

  • Don't mix or combine hazardous materials unless you know you can do so safely. Many products can cause violent reactions or release poisonous fumes when combined.

  • Transferring flammable liquids like gasoline, from one container to another can make static electricity that could ignite the fumes.

  • Always carry chemicals in approved containers.

  • Always wash your hands after using any unsafe material.

  • Store materials correctly, as directed on their labels. Flammable chemicals should be stored in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight. Some chemicals like acids must be stored separately from each other.

Hazards of incorrect use

Exposure to hazardous materials can cause:

  • Trauma (as in explosion)

  • Burns

  • Illness

  • Death

Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Susan K. Dempsey-Walls RN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2024
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.