Protect your family by using less toxic products around the home

Advice and resources in Spanish to help protect children’s health, environment

(En español: https://lhwmp.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/proteja-su-familia-utilizando-en-casa-productos-menos-toxicos/)

Children are easily exposed to products we use and store in our homes. The third most common call to the Washington Poison Center is about accidental exposure to cleaning products – for children and adults.

In an effort to help King County’s Spanish-speaking residents protect themselves and their children, the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County is continuing to produce its “telenovella” style ads that show safe product use.

“Many parents do not realize some common products may be toxic and which are safer to use,” said Mary Rabourn, project manager for the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program.  “I have heard many stories from parents about mixing cleaners and accidentally making toxic gasses, as well as close calls their children have had almost drinking or eating a toxic product.”

Kids can be exposed to products left open or accessible around the home and perhaps mistake them for food. Because of a child’s smaller size, any exposure to chemicals that a child has is far more serious than that of an adult – and exposure to some chemicals can have lifelong effects.

New ads show how easily Maria gets sick from mixing cleaning chemicals, and her friend Laura explains how to stay safe. The ads also feature local people talking about their experiences with household chemicals.

These new ads continue last year’s ads featuring Laura, who barely avoids accidents with household products that could harm her or her son, Carlitos. Laura’s friend Rosy explains safe ways to use household products – especially around children.

“This is safety information that many people have not heard before,” said Paulina Lopez, community activist and project assistant. “I know many women who are professional cleaners who are happy to hear there are safer products and ways to clean.”

Keeping your family safe is easier with these tips:

  • Prevent accidents by storing and using products away from children. Some products can look and smell like food.
  • Do not mix products, especially those with chlorine and ammonia, which can make a toxic gas. Ingredients are not always obvious on the label.
  • Products that say “caution,” “warning,” “danger” or “poison” on the label are hazardous. The safest products are those that that don’t have those words on the label or that only say “caution.”
  • Use inexpensive products such as baking soda and vinegar; they are effective cleaners and less harmful.
  • Take unwanted products to one of the disposal facilities such as the Wastemobile at the Auburn SuperMall or to collection sites in north and south Seattle, Factoria/Bellevue. Safe disposal is free; just drive up and an attendant will take the products out of your car or trunk. Find maps at www.lhwmp.org/home/HHW/disposal-locations.aspx#auburn

View the videos at:

  • ¡Protéjase! ¡Nunca mezcle los productos de limpeiza! http://vimeo.com/50791609 (Protect yourself. Never mix cleaning products!)
  • Testimonio real de productos tóxicos de los residentes locales http://vimeo.com/50791610 (Local residents comment on toxic products).
  • Los productos químicos siempre deben estar lejos del alcance de los niños – http://vimeo.com/26275636 (Keep chemical products away from children).
  • Maneras más seguras de usar productos químicos en casa, especialmente no mezclarlos – http://vimeo.com/26275935 (How to use chemical products safely: do not to mix).
  • Productos que son más seguros en su uso – http://vimeo.com/26276195 (Safer products to use).
  • Servicio móvil de deposito de productos no deseados fácil de usar – http://vimeo.com/26276453 (It is easy to use hazardous waste disposal services).

For information on green cleaning, or to schedule a workshop on cleaning, call the Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692, toll free at 1-888-869-4233.  Interpreters are available. Or find us on Facebook at Por Una Familia Sana Y Segura.

The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program is a partnership of local governments including Seattle, King County, the suburban and other cities in King County, working together to manage hazardous wastes and protect health and the environment. Visit us at www.hazwastehelp.org.