What you don’t know may hurt you

by | May 17, 2024 | Health and Wellness

You might be surprised to know how many potentially toxic chemicals you likely have in your home. From bleach and colourful laundry detergent packets to household cleaners, paint and windshield washer fluid. Here’s how to keep everyone at home safe.

Understand common household risks

You should always read the label on the product to make sure there are no special handling instructions, such as wearing gloves or a mask when using it. Always wash your hands thoroughly after using any chemicals.

Also, be aware that some products should never be mixed. If you accidentally mix bleach and ammonia, for example, you’ll end up creating a poisonous gas.

Consider also choosing low-emission paints and varnishes, when possible, to help minimize off-gassing in your home.

You should also regularly inspect containers for signs of corrosion or leaking and dispose of any damaged packaging. Contact your municipality for the location and hours of the nearest hazardous waste disposal site.

Keep children safe

Children are most at risk for unintentional poisonings, in part because they’re less likely to be able to read or understand the warning labels. They also have smaller, developing bodies that can be impacted by small doses.

As soon as they’re old enough to understand the danger, you should teach kids what the various hazard signs mean on a package, including poison, explosive, corrosive and flammable.

Medicines should be stored in child-resistant packaging out of reach of young children. Remember to bring unused and expired prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and natural health products to your local pharmacy for proper disposal.

Keep cleaning, laundry and painting supplies in a locked cupboard or storage room that children can’t get into.

If you suspect someone’s ingested a toxic substance, call the new toll-free number immediately for advice: 1-844-POISON-X (844-764-7669). In Quebec, call 1-800-463-5060.

Learn more about handling household chemicals safely at canada.ca/healthy-home

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