household products

Location is important, especially when it comes to household products

By Jim Jones

Where do you keep your cleaning supplies? If you’re like most of us, you probably said under the sink. What about other household products like insect repellents and flea or tick products? Where you store your household products might seem like a small detail. However, storing cleaning and other products incorrectly could be putting your kids at risk for an accidental poisoning.

Here are some interesting statistics from the American Association of Poison Control Centers:

  • Poisoning is our country’s leading cause of injury-related death.
  • 91% of poisonings occur at home.
  • Exposure to household cleaning products is the second leading cause of pediatric poisonings.

The good news is that most poisonings are preventable. Storing cleaning and other household products out of children’s reach, is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your kids from accidental poisonings.

One of the most common cleaning products kids are exposed to is bleach. In 2014, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported over 15,000 poisoning incidents involving only bleach for kids 12 and under. Making cleaning products inaccessible to kids by simply moving them to a higher shelf or installing safety latches on cabinets where cleaning products are stored could have prevented some of these incidents from occurring.

Here are a few more things you can do every day to prevent poisonings:

  • Read the label first. Follow the directions as they are written on the label before using a product.
  • Use child-resistant packaging correctly by tightly sealing the container after every use.
  • Never put cleaning or other household products in containers that could be mistaken for food or drinks.

When you think of environmental protection you probably don’t automatically associate it with poison prevention. However, an important part of our mission involves ensuring the safety of public health around the country. But we can’t do it alone – we need your help!

Check out more poison prevention tips at http://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/reduce-your-childs-chances-pesticide-poisoning.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Are Air Fresheners Helpful Or Harmful?

By Lina Younes

My youngest daughter loves to buy air fresheners for the house. She prefers those with strong fruity scents. Personally, I’m not very fond of these chemical fresheners. I’ve always felt that they don’t really “freshen” the air. While they might have a nice smell momentarily, they are really only masking other odors that might be present in your indoor environment. After seeing how an office colleague reacted to an air freshener several offices away, I decided to look further into these household products.

The fact is that most of us spend a lot of our time indoors whether at home, at work, or in school. On average, people spend about 90% of their time indoors. In these confined spaces, there are several sources of air pollution that may cause health problems, allergies, or serious illnesses. These problems can be compounded if there is poor ventilation or you are an asthmatic or suffer from other upper respiratory conditions. In fact, paints and some of these air fresheners have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde and petroleum distillates which can be very irritating to eyes, skin and throat. Even unscented air fresheners can produce an allergic reaction in certain individuals. So, make sure if you use air fresheners in your home or office, please read the label first to use properly and safely.  Also, keep them out of reach of children and pets.

So, what can you do to improve the air quality in your home, school or office? Understanding some of these common pollutants found inside buildings is the first step to protecting yourself and your family. Furthermore, look for more natural options or non-toxic approaches like baking soda. Hope these tips have been helpful. Your thoughts are always welcomed.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as EPA’s Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.