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57 Ways To Protect Your Home Environment (and Yourself)
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22. Store Hazardous Chemicals Safely

hazerdous materials classifications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average household generates 20 pounds of household hazardous waste per year and stores up to 100 pounds of hazardous waste. This includes home maintenance products, auto items, cleaners, hobby materials, cosmetics, drugs, batteries, and yard products.

There are four major classifications of hazardous materials. Corrosive materials can dissolve or wear away materials and most can harm the skin and eyes. Flammable materials pose a serious threat of fire if stored improperly. Many of these items indicate, “Do not store near heat” or “Keep in cool, dry place.”

hazerdous materials classifications

Explosive or reactive materials can explode when combined with other substances. They may also react violently in other ways, such as producing toxic gases. For example, when bleach and many dish detergents that contain chlorine bleach mix with ammonia, lye, or acids, the combination can produce toxic gases.
hazerdous materials classifications

Toxic materials are those that, in sufficient quantities, pose a hazard to human health. They are sometimes identified with the symbol of a skull and crossbones. Most cupboards and closets are full of potentially toxic materials, from air fresheners and carpet deodorizers to mothballs and oven cleaners.
girl dtrinking a coke

Store hazardous materials in their original containers. If the label is peeling off, reattach it with transparent tape. To reduce the amount of hazardous materials in storage, buy only the amount that you need for the job at hand. Buy products with safety closures whenever possible.
purse with medicine

Store hazardous materials, including purses that contain medicines or cosmetics, out of the reach of children. Do not store hazardous materials near food or medicines. Keep hazardous materials stored in the house or the garage in a locked cabinet.
clean up materials

Keep a bag of cat litter, sand, or sawdust near the storage area to soak up any spilled chemical from a broken or leaking container. Keep a separate broom and dustpan handy for chemical cleanup, and do not use them for any other purpose.
storage cabinet

Because of flammability, store liquid pesticides containing a petroleum-based carrier or solvent in a garage in a locked cabinet. However, be aware that temperatures below freezing can cause the pesticide to become ineffective. This underscores the importance of buying only the amount of chemical that you need for a job. Other flammable products, such as gasoline, kerosene, propane gas, and paint thinner should also be stored in approved containers in the garage—never inside the house.
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