Here are some of the basic things you can do to reduce exposures to potential hazards.
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Use Household Chemicals Safely
You probably use many chemical products in and around your home. These products include cleaning liquids and powders, polishers, drain cleaners, paint thinners and windshield washer fluids. Household chemicals should be used, stored and disposed of as recommended.
A) Read the label before you buy, and follow the instructions every time you use a household chemical product. By law, the label must include instructions on how to use and store the product safely. It must also show warnings of potential hazards.
Look for these symbols on household chemical product. If you don't already know what these symbols mean, learn them. If you follow the instructions, you could prevent an injury. You could even save a life.
Contents and Containers
The frame around the symbol is important because it tells you what is dangerous -- the contents or the container.
This triangle frame around a symbol means that the container itself is dangerous.
This eight-sided frame around a symbol means that the product inside the container is dangerous.
Recognize these warning symbols
Poison -- the contents of containers with this symbol are poisonous if swallowed, touched or inhaled.
Corrosive -- the contents of containers with this symbol will burn skin or eyes and can also burn the stomach if swallowed.
Explosive -- containers with this symbol can explode if heated or punctured.
Flammable -- the contents of containers with this symbol catch fire easily if near heat, flames or sparks.
Each warning symbol also has one of these words under it.
CAUTION -- means a temporary injury may occur from improper use of the product. Death may occur after extreme exposure.
DANGER -- means that the product may cause temporary or permanent injury, or death.
EXTREME DANGER -- means that being exposed to even a very low quantity of the product may cause death, or temporary or permanent injury. Be very, very careful.
B) Store all chemical products in their original containers.
Try not to store products that may release harmful fumes inside your home. These items include paints, solvents, gasoline, fuels or varnishes. Store them in a separate building, if you can, or in an area that is well vented to the outside. Buy only the quantity you need for the job, and discard any leftovers as directed by your municipality or township.
C) Dispose of leftover products safely. Check municipal guidelines for instructions.
- burn household chemical containers
- pour the contents down the drain
- re-use empty containers for any purposes
Choosing to Use a Pesticide?
Follow the above general guidelines for the safe use, storage and disposal of household chemical products. Buy only as much pesticide as you need and ensure that it is a Health Canada registered product by locating the PCP (Pest Control Product) number on the label.
- Lock all household chemical products out of the sight and reach of children. Household chemical containers, even if sealed or empty, can be dangerous. Never let children play with them.
- Teach children what the warning symbols on the label of a product mean so they can stay safe.
- If you suspect that your child has swallowed a household chemical, call a Poison Control Centre immediately and get medical attention.
- You can find phone numbers of the Poison Control Centre nearest you at the front of your local telephone directory or by searching Poison Control Centre + (your province or territory) on the Internet -- keep the number by your phone.
Read More About Using Household Chemicals Safely
Ventilate Your Home
- Fresh air. Make sure you have sufficient fresh air in your home. The consumer publications on ventilation from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation are a good source of advice.
- Use a fan. An exhaust fan that vents to the outside should be installed above your stove, and it should be turned on, especially when frying.
- Ventilate. Open windows when painting, varnishing or installing new carpets.
- Go low. Choose low-emission paints, varnishes, glues, wood furniture and building products. Look for an independent certification label, like the EcoLogo program that sets standards for sustainable products, to help you select low-emission products.
Read More About Ventilating Your Home
Wash Your Hands Often
- Washing your hands often helps to prevent infection and reduce exposure to harmful substances. Washing hands is especially important before every meal.
- To clean your hands thoroughly, scrub with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- When it's not possible to wash with soap and water, an alcohol-based sanitizer is a good choice.
Read More About Hand Washing
Take Off Your Shoes When You Come Inside
- The soil outside your home can contain substances you don't want inside. Taking off your shoes at the door is one way to help keep harmful substances out.