Different house cleaning chemicals that sit idly around the house in cupboards, bathrooms, the garage or basement contain chemicals that can cause accidents when used or mixed incorrectly.
Although workplaces require large amounts of chemical substances, the household chemical safety principles still apply at home where small amounts of chemicals are used to clean dirt in the as kitchen cleaning chemicals, bathroom and toilet without knowing the hazards they pose to users.
For instance, in most homes, chemical hazard comes from detergent cleaners.
Their packages are usually appealing to toddlers who might end up ingesting them. Most children under the age of five are vulnerable to injuries caused by household chemical products.
This is why it is important to maintain a safe environment, especially at home.
But just how do you maintain a safe environment at home and what are the best practices for safe chemical disposal and storage?
This article contains a couple of safety tips that can get you started on your journey towards creating a safe home or work environment.
What working with household cleaning chemicals can cause:
2.Shortness of Breath
5.Red, Itchy Eyes
6.Headaches or Dizziness
9.Skin and Eye Burns
If you have health problems that you think are caused by using cleaning chemicals, see a doctor.
What You Need to Know about household chemicals
Do not mix cleaning products that contain bleach and ammonia. Dangerous gases can be released and can cause severe lung damage.
Sufficient ventilation (airflow) when using flammable household chemicals.
Protective clothing, gloves, and safety goggles, when needed.
Labels on containers of cleaning chemicals should be readable.
Training on the hazards of cleaning chemicals you are using and safe work practices at home all the time
Before using household chemicals you must:
Know the hazards of cleaning chemicals BEFORE using them.
Know how to use and store cleaning chemicals safely in approved storage areas.
Know how and when to dilute cleaning chemicals you are using.
Know what to do if there is a spill or other emergency.
Know how to obtain and use hazard information on labels and safety data sheets (SDS).
Know how and when to use protective clothing, gloves, and safety goggles
Handling Hazardous Chemicals in our homes
Chemicals are a major part of our everyday life at home, work and play a major role. Examples include toxics, corrosives, solvents and numerous other substances. As long as we take proper precautions, these substances can be handled safely.
Chemicals that you use at home include gasoline, paints, fertilizers, lawn chemicals, bug spray, paint strippers, kerosene, bleach and other household cleaners.
However, chemicals you may use at work are facility-specific solvents, laboratory chemicals, fuels, paint, office copier chemicals, correction fluid, lubricants and corrosives.
We are exposed to chemicals by these ways:
Inhalation- Breathing in dusts mists and vapors Example like from bleach and powder detergents.
Ingestion- Eating contamination Example: Having lunch in the work area where there are airborne contaminants of the chemical you are handling
Absorption- Skin contact with a chemical Example: Contact dermatitis or an eye irritation
Injection- Forcing an agent into the body through a needle or a high-pressure device Example: Needle stick in socked clothes in bleaching chemical
You can protect yourself against chemical hazards by:
Reading container labels, material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and safe-work instructions before you handle a chemical;
Using specified personal protective equipment (PPE) that may include chemicals plash goggles, a respirator, safety gloves, apron, steel-toed shoes, safety glasses with side shields, etc. Ensure the PPE fits properly and you are trained in its use;
Inspecting all PPE before you use them. Look for defects in the equipment such as cracks, missing parts, rips, etc. Ensure your respirator has the proper chemical cartridge for the particular chemical hazard. Change cartridges when it is necessary;
Knowing the location of safety showers and eyewash stations and how to use them if they are available
Washing your hands before eating, especially after handling chemicals;
Leaving your contaminated clothing at work area. If you wear the clothes home, you can expose your family to the hazards.
Chemicals in the work environment and commonplace are necessary for making our jobs easier and more productive. But these benefits are also accompanied by many hazards.
Failure to understand the hazards of products can lead to their casual use and often leads to user injuries, and costly clean-up efforts.
Whether you are handling household cleaning products in the workplace or working with industrial chemicals at home, being aware of chemical safety will help to keep you and your family safe from possible danger.
It is very important to remember that chemical products have the potential of being extremely harmful and dangerous if they are used incorrectly, or incorrectly mixed with one another.
Here are some simple guidelines:
- Identify and take an inventory of all the chemicals used in your home.
- List the quantities on hand, where they are stored, and what they are stored in.
- Ensure that each product has a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets) from the companies that manufactured the chemical.
- Keep a log of all SDSs and MSDSs on hand. These will be needed for training of other family members and for quick reference in the event of an emergency.
Product Label: Always take the time to read the warning label on any chemical product you use. The label provides safe guidelines for using that specific product.
In addition to the information on safe usage, the label also generally provides information on safe storage, and gives instructions on how you can protect yourself when using the product, such as the need for protective gloves, eyewear or ventilation.
The label also includes the contact information for the manufacturer of the product.
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
This update to the HAZCOM standard provides a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets..
Always read the labels carefully
Everyone of those household products comes with instruction on how to use them.
Each product is required to have labels and guides on safe usage with warning signs of possible hazards. Be sure to carefully go through the bordered labels where there are instructions for first aid treatment in case of an emergency.
Also, take the time to learn the meaning of the different hazardous labels in the package to improve the safety of your family.
These labels should remain visible to maintain household chemical safety.
Safe storage of household chemical products
First things first, household chemical products need to be stored in a separate container according to the instructions of the specified product.
It should be an obvious knowledge that household chemical products need to stay out of children’s reach for safety reasons.
Carefully use of household products especially when the kids are around
It is very important to be cautious when mixing household chemical products as there are some products that can release poisonous gases when mixed.
Always make sure that you have child-resistant closures that work in order to keep your kids safe.
It is also recommended to teach your kids about the hazard symbols so that they understand the dangers that chemical products pose.
Safely dispose of leftover chemical products
You should make a habit of only buying enough products, that way you have fewer leftovers and you save money.
By buying only the required amount, you will be able to reduce wastage and maintain safety.
You should also check your city’s laws and guidelines to know whether your chemical disposal methods are legal or safe.
Remember—you can guard against chemical hazards. A good safety attitude protects everyone—you, your family, and others around you.
In general to enable household chemical safety, always keep kids toys, and pets at a distance from chemicals.