Whether we like to admit it or not, hazardous materials are a part of our everyday lives. With a surprisingly extensive list of products that are labelled as being hazardous, it is virtually impossible for any household to avoid accumulating several of these products and making use of them on a regular basis.
The list of common household items that are hazardous include: acetone, fertilizer, insecticides, pool chemicals, batteries, paint and paint thinners, car wax and polish, motor oil, bleach, drain cleaners, herbicides, and antifreeze among many others.
If you already have a few of these products on-hand in your home, it is important to take care and make sure they are stored properly. We've gathered a few of the essential measures to follow when storing household hazardous materials:
- To determine the best storage space for each product, carefully read warning labels and follow the safety instructions.
- Always store hazardous substances in their original container. If a safety label is beginning to peel from a container, use transparent tape to secure it.
- Never store hazardous materials in food or beverage containers and do not mix different substances in one storage container.
- Keep products stored in a ventilated area that is out of direct sunlight.
- Ensure the dangerous materials are kept at a proper temperature; too warm of a location could cause containers to explode, while too cold could freeze liquids and cause containers to crack.
- Keep all hazardous products out reach from children. If possible, keep these materials in a secure and locked area.
- When purchasing hazardous products, only buy the amount you need to use. Avoid buying these products in bulk quantities, which will only increase the amount you need to properly store.
- Conduct a periodic inspection of the storage area for your hazardous products. Inspect the area for a presence of fumes, expired products, leaks, and containers that have bulges, dents or rust.
- Make sure that all storage containers are kept tightly closed when not in use. Any empty containers should be kept in a different area since these containers may have toxic residue. Keep empty containers tightly closed at all times.
Once you've bought and used up a product that is classified as a hazardous material, it is important to take the right steps to dispose of it safely. Keep the following tips in mind when preparing to dispose of your household hazardous waste:
- Never get rid of hazardous waste by flushing it down a toilet or pouring it down a drain. Not only is this illegal, but it is also unsafe.
- Do not put hazardous waste with regular garbage that is destined for a landfill.
- Do not reuse empty containers. Treat and dispose of empty containers as hazardous waste.
- Locate a local hazardous waste disposal site where you can take your harmful substances to be properly disposed. Across Canada there are provincial programs for collection and disposal of hazardous waste. Many municipalities also host seasonal hazardous material collection programs. Contact your municipality to find out where to dispose of your household hazardous waste.
By: Erin Kelly