Most homes are swimming with toxic products from pesticides to household cleaners to polishes and waxes. Such products can not only adversely affect you, your family, and your pets, but also have a downstream environmental effect as they swirl down your drain, and their packaging winds up in an incinerator or a landfill if you don't recycle.
While some products do list hazardous ingredients on their labels, most do not. Therefore an easy way to identify toxic products is to look for "warning words" on the label, such as:
- Poison or Danger- These words indicate a highly toxic product. Ingesting a small amount (sometimes even a few drops) can be fatal.
- Warning - Indicates moderate toxicity; as little as a teaspoon can be fatal.
- Caution - Lower toxicity; two tablespoons to two cups can be fatal.
- Corrosive - Damages skin and mucous membranes.
- Strong sensitizer - Increases allergies.
Such products should not be poured down the drain or thrown away in the trash. Instead, collect these products and store them together in a safe place until your community's next Household Hazardous Waste Pickup Day. You can find out when this is by calling your local recycling center, town hall, or city hall, or by checking online. Most communities have at least one such day per year.