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National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness Week: How to Stay Safe

The third week in March is National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness Week. In honor of this life-saving initiative, Domestic CEO has tips to help you become more aware of the dangers of inhalants and poisons in your home.

By
Amanda Thomas
March 20, 2014
Episode #102

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Awareness is the knowing and understanding about what is happening in the world around you.

You may have looked at the title of this episode about inhalants and poisons and thought, “Well, that really doesn’t apply to me,” but that’s where you’d be wrong. You see, almost every home in America has items in it that can be potentially poisonous or dangerous. Being aware of this is important. In fact, it could be life-saving. Since the third week in March is the National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness Week, I wanted to focus this week's episode on safety from these items in the home.

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Household Cleaners Are Poisonous

Most of us realize that some household cleaners can be dangerous, especially to small children or pets. When storing things like cleaners, solvents, polishes, and bleach, using common sense and imagining worst-case scenarios can help you prevent most accidental poisonings. Here are some useful tips to implement in your home today:

  • If small children live in your home or even visit your home, store household cleaners behind locks. Child locks can be purchased and installed easily. Most of use store a lot of cleaning products under the kitchen sink in cabinets. Investing in some inexpensive child locks may save a life or at least help avoid a dangerous situation. Kids are quick, quiet, and curious and can get to things they shouldn’t in an instant. Rather be safe than sorry!

  • When cleaning with chemicals, always have good ventilation. Cleaning in a small bathroom with no window is not a place to use heavy-duty ammonia or bleach. Using an exhaust fan to circulate the air may not be enough. Opt for something gentler to clean with like vinegar, baking soda, or lemons. Click on these links to learn how to replace expensive and harsh chemical cleaners in your home with natural, safe products.

  • Keep cleaners and other products in their original containers. If you really want to fill an un-marked squirt bottle with a specific product, be sure to label the container. Then snap a photo of the label on the original container. If you have a large spill, a child gets into the product, or a container leaks, you have all the ingredient info to share with poison control if you need to call.

  • Keep the phone number for your area poison control handy. Either program it into your phone or post the number in a prominent, easy-to-find place.

Did you know that mixing bleach with other chemicals can be deadly? If you mix bleach or a cleaner containing bleach with ammonia, you will create a toxic gas! 

  • If you use bleach, don’t store it on a high shelf. Why? Just in case the cover isn’t secured tightly after the previous use and you bobble the container and drop it, you could end up with bleach all over the room, on yourself, or others.

  • Although bleach seems to come from an "organic" compound (table salt), the process it undergoes radically changes the substance into something far more harmful to humans and the environment. Bleach has the potential to be a corrosive and deadly chemical. With such broad household use, it's important to remember the risk it poses to children - especially because small amounts will affect them more than adults.

Sometimes even awareness and being vigilant isn’t enough. Simply using chemicals can be dangerous. Did you know that mixing bleach with other chemicals can be deadly? If you mix bleach or a cleaner containing bleach with ammonia, you will create a toxic gas. Bleach is also highly corrosive to the skin, lungs, and eyes.

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