A Guide to Household Hazardous Products, Safe Disposal and Less Toxic Alternatives
Chemical products in your home such as cleaners, paint thinners,
sprays and pesticides can be a potential danger to you, your
family, the community and the environment.
Most of us have a variety of such products stored in our cupboards,
closets or garages.
Products that are washed down the drain, or put in storm sewers
can cause water contamination. Items put in the garbage end up
in the landfill. Although hazardous products typically make up less than one percent of the waste stream, their presence in landfills has the potential to do greater harm than the other 99+ percent.
Hazardous Waste Properties
A product is hazardous if it has one or
more of these properties:
substances that even in small quantities may poison,
cause injury or death when swallowed, absorbed through
the skin or inhaled into the lungs.
substances, usually liquids, that can readily ignite
(burn in air) in a wide range of temperature conditions.
substances or vapors that can deteriorate or eat away the
surface of another material.
substances that can react with air, water or another
substance to produce toxic vapors or explode.
substances or vapors that can cause deterioration or
irreversible damage to body tissues at the point of contact.
substances that can damage and destroy cells and chromosomal
material. Radioactive substances are known to cause
cancer, mutations and fetal harm.
|Degree of Danger
Combined with the 3 symbols below, the classification images above show the type and extent to which a substance can be
Guidelines for Buying and Using Hazardous Products
Use up what you currently have for the
product's intended use and/or properly dispose of what you have left. Choose a less toxic alternative next time. If one is not available, follow
these guidelines to protect your health and the environment.
- Carefully read the directions and/or health
warnings on the label before you buy the product.
- Avoid buying a different product for every
kind of dirt or cleaning problem. One or a few general household cleaners
can effectively clean a multitude of surfaces.
- Buy only the amount you need for a specific
project. Prevent disposal problems by buying products in smaller quantities.
- As a consumer, you can write and request that
the manufacturers produce products what work and are less toxic.
- Choose products with child-resistant packages.
- Keep all hazardous products in their original
containers. Periodically check containers for deterioration. If an original
container is leaking, enclose it in a larger container that is clearly
marked. Never put hazardous products in food or beverage containers. Children
may mistake them for food.
- Store hazardous materials in a cool, dry place
that is away from all food and inaccessible to children or pets.
- Do not store incompatible products together.
Dangerous fires, explosions or toxic chemical reactions could occur. Flammables
should never be stored with corrosives. Toxics or poisons should always
be kept away from other hazardous products.
- Always read and follow label directions carefully.
Use only the proper and indicated amount. Twice as much does not mean twice
- Never mix chemical products or cleaners. Explosivie
or toxic chemical reactions may occur. For example, products containing
ammonia and those with chlorine will produce deadly chloramine gas when
- Avoid splashing, wear protective clothing,
use safety glasses if possible, and always wear gloves. Use in well-ventilated
areas and take frequent air breaks.
- Children and expectant mothers should restrict
or eliminate exposure to hazardous products. Children and developing fetuses
are much more sensitive to chemicals than adults.
- Keep the number of the Poison Control Centre,
1-866-454-1212, visible and posted near the phone in case of emergencies.
For more serious situations, you can reach the Poison Control Centre by
- While Saskatoon has had frequent (at least monthly) collection events for the last several years, residents from most other communities have had little or no option for handling hazardous wastes. Check with your municipal office to see if an event is planned for your area.
- Reuse by donating unused or partially used
products in their original containers to local community groups, schools,
businesses, or to others who may use them.
- Do not throw a container from a hazardous
product into the garbage unless it is completely empty.
- Read and follow label directions and/or the
table above for the safe and proper disposal methods of products.
Alternatives and handling procedures for specific products:
Automotive | Pesticides & Garden | Hobby & Recreation | Household Cleaning | Other Household | Paint
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