Safe storage of common household products
City Of San Diego Environmental Services Department
If you are required to use toxic products, keep them out
of the wrong hands
n the wake of another accidental poisoning, parents
are being warned to ensure that household products containing toxic chemicals
are safely stored and out of reach of children. Earlier this month a two
year-old North County child received severe burns to the mouth and throat
after accidentally swallowing tub and tile cleaner.
Unfortunately, incidents like this are all too common.
Last year in San Diego there were 2,573 cases of exposure to household hazardous
materials in children under the age of six, according to Dr. Anthony Manoguerra
of the San Diego Regional Poison Center at UCSD Medical Center.
"Children under the age of six are the most susceptible
to accidental exposure, because they are in the stages of growth and development
where they are exploring and learning about the world around them,"
said Manoguerra. "And what children see and reach for, they put in
Household hazardous materials are products containing
toxic chemicals. Any product labeled with the words CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER,
POISON, FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE or REACTIVE is considered a household hazardous
material and requires special storage and handling.
Danger areas in the home
Accidental poisonings and/or exposure to hazardous materials
can happen anywhere, but they most often occur in the kitchen, bathroom
or garage, where cleaning, automotive and exterior home supplies are stored.
Common hazardous products stored in the kitchen and bathroom include all-purpose
cleaners, oven cleaner, furniture polish and drain cleaner. Antifreeze,
arts and crafts supplies, paint and pesticides are hazardous products typically
stored in the garage.
Reduce the risk
Parents can safeguard their child and reduce the risk
of exposure to household hazardous materials by following these steps:
In case of emergency, call the San Diego Regional Poison
Center at (619) 543-6000. Additionally, a bottle of Ipecac syrup should
be kept on hand to be used to induce vomiting, but only if instructed by
Poison Center staff or your doctor. For more information regarding prevention
of exposure to household hazardous materials, call (619) 235-2111.
- Always keep hazardous materials in their original containers, never
put them in food or beverage containers. Store hazardous and food products
in separate areas.
- Watch your child when using household hazardous materials. If the
phone or doorbell rings, take your child with you.
- Keep products in locked or child-proof cabinets (child-proof latches
are available at most home supply stores). Safely store products immediately
- Buy only as much as you need and will use. Try buying one product
that will accomplish many tasks, instead of a separate products for every
household chore. This reduces cost, storage space and the amount of leftover
- Choose the least toxic products available. Read labels, look for warning
words and check ingredients.
- Check storage areas at least twice a year and properly dispose of
products that have outlived their usefulness. Remove leaking or damaged
containers, but don't combine different products. Keep the area clean and
free from trash.
The City of San Diego Household Hazardous Materials is sponsored by
the Environmental Services Department and the Water Utilities Department
with additional funding from the California Integrated Waste Management