3 Common Chemical Dangers in Your Home
When you are protecting your child’s health, it is important to focus on nutrition and physical activity, but what about chemical exposure? Either by accident or faulty manufacturing, household consumer products injure an estimated 33.1 million people in the United States every year according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. To ensure that your family doesn’t fall victim to an accident, we’ve identified three dangerous everyday products in your home and how you can prevent them from poisoning you.
1. Danger: Moth Balls.
Moth Balls easily keep mosquitoes at bay, and stop
moths from eating our clothing. However, they are not always safe, especially if used improperly. Moth balls contain either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, which are toxic chemicals. Both become a gas when exposed to air and cause that pungent moth ball smell. These gases are irritating to the eyes and lungs and may cause headache, dizziness and nausea. Both chemicals are suspected of causing cancer.
Solution: Don’t use moth balls! Instead, use cedar chips. Cedar chips provide a safer and more natural alternative, and work just as well. If clothing was stored with moth balls, wash and air out before allowing it to be worn by children.
2. Danger: Pesticides.
Pesticides can be useful, but they also can be dangerous if used carelessly or not are stored properly. Because these are poisons, the U.S. EPA requires pesticide manufacturers to include the toxicity level of the product on its packaging.
Solution: The most effective way to reduce risks posed by pesticides is to use non-chemical methods to reduce or eliminate pest problems, such as removing sources of food and water and destroying pest shelters and breeding sites. If you do need to use pesticides, remember to ventilate any enclosed spaces and check to make sure you are not using unauthorized pesticides.
3. Danger: Air Fresheners and Cleaning Solutions.
Additionally, air fresheners are highly flammable and can be strong irritants to
eyes, skin, and throat. When used excessively or in a small, unventilated area, these products release toxic levels of pollutants.
Solution: Keep air circulating through the area with the air freshener as a precaution. Also, baking soda is a non-toxic alternative that can also be used to freshen the air in your home.
Even when you are being careful, accidents can happen. If someone is exposed to poison, try to determine what the person was exposed to and what part of the body was affected because taking the right action is as important as taking immediate action. If the person is unconscious having trouble breathing, or having convulsions, give them first aid immediately and call 9-1-1. If the person does not have these symptoms, contact your local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. Have the container with you when you call and remember to act fast!