Think your home is safe and toxin-free? Think again!
That’s quite a loaded question, isn’t it? I think most of us would answer a quick “no,” but the fact is that almost all of us should be answering “yes.”
Let’s re-phrase. Do you deliberately keep poison in your home? Probably not. However, if you have a variety of cleaning products, health and beauty products, aerosol cans, weed killer, rodent killer, plant fertilizer (you get the idea), then you do have dangerous poisons in your home.
Whether you are a new parent to tiny, bouncing baby and you’re just learning your way around this whole “baby safe” protocol, or you're a grandparent entertaining grandkids a few times a month, you may have potentially poisonous situations lurking in your home. And even if you don’t have kids in your home, awareness about dangerous chemicals is something everyone should be aware of.
March 16 – 22 is National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness Week. Maybe that’s not cause for celebration and joy, but it's a good reminder for us all to be mindful of the products we keep in our homes and the threats they may pose.
Take bleach for example. It really is not as great as we think it is. In fact, when mixed with almost any other cleaner, the fumes it creates can be toxic. The website Sustainable Baby Steps goes into great detail on this subject. It’s quite the eye-opener. In fact, it may change your mind about using bleach.
And speaking of fumes, it turns out that inhaling fumes from household items or “huffing” from aerosol cans has become a very common way of getting high for young kids and teenagers. Being aware of the things around the house that are used for this is your first step towards prevention. The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition has an awesome website to bring you up to speed on this dangerous practice and the likely household items used for it. Take the time to take a look. It might save a life someday.
Knowledge about the dangers of chemicals, locking up possible poisons, and being aware of household items used improperly is all important. Unfortunately, we all know that doing all these things still may not prevent an accident. If you suspect in your home may have been accidentally poisoned from fumes or chemicals, don’t hesitate to get help. Call your local poison center, the National Capital Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222, or 911 if you suspect a problem.
The Mayo Clinic has some helpful tips on signs of possible poisoning. It’s good to arm yourself with this knowledge. Another informative website to look at is Poison.org. It even has poison prevention jingles that you can teach to your children!
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!