You can’t watch children all the time. So how can you keep them safer?
If you have unwanted hazardous products you could get them out of your home and away from curious hands.
How can you tell which products under the sink or in the closet are hazardous?
Look on the label. If you see the words DANGER or POISON, that means the product is very harmful.
If you see the words CAUTION or WARNING, that means the products is somewhat harmful.
And if you don’t see CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER OR POISON on the product label, that means the product is safer to use.
So if you want to get rid of hazardous products you don’t want, what do you do?
- You aren’t supposed to throw them in the trash.
- Instead, take them to a disposal site, at no cost.
Getting rid of hazardous products you no longer use can help keep you and your family safer.
It’s hard to keep an eye on small children all the time, and young children put everything in their mouth. Follow these simple steps to reduce the chance of a poisoning in your home.
Step 1. Make green cleaners – Household cleaners are the third most common reason for accidental poisoning of children. Reduce your child’s exposure to toxins and make your own green cleaners (PDF).
Step 2. Buy safer cleaners. If you don’t have the time or interest to make your own green cleaners, buy safer ones. How? Read the label. Look in the lower left-hand corner for the words CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER or POISON. Avoid products that say DANGER or POISON. Instead, buy products that have WARNING or CAUTION. Labels with WARNING carry a higher level of hazard than CAUTION. Sometimes two products that do the same thing have different warning labels like these products below – one says WARNING and the other says CAUTION. The product with the word CAUTION is safer than the product with WARNING. Buy the product with CAUTION.
Step 3. Store products safely – Help keep kids safer by storing hazardous products away from their reach. Lock cabinets or take a new look at where you keep your products.
Step 4. Store and use hazardous products away from food – Children and adults can easily confuse edible products that are in look-a-like containers. Contact the Washington Poison Center 1-800-222-1222 for free help in case of exposure to poisonous, hazardous, or toxic substances.
Step 5. Dispose of unwanted or expired medicines at one of these free, medicine take-back locations. Store the medicines you keep safely by locking them in a drawer, cabinet or medicine lock box.
Step 6. Keep hazardous materials in their original containers – Unmarked and reused containers are easily confused with food – like these containers below that were reused to store waste diesel fuel. If you have to store a product outside of its original container, clearly label and safely dispose of it.
(Photo courtesy of Kitsap County Solid Waste)
People want to know, are you officially certified?
Businesses in the Pacific Northwest are in the right place to catch the attention and loyal patronage of customers in our region.
People want to support environmentally-responsible businesses. Residents, employees, and business owners place a high value on natural resources and healthy, active lifestyles as part of our quality of life in Washington State. Eighty percent of the residents surveyed across five Puget Sound area counties said that they prefer to support environmentally-minded businesses, like EnviroStars.
With all the talk of “green-washing” though, potential customers have learned to be skeptical. EnviroStars certification provides an objective third-party assessment of businesses and is a certification people can trust. The EnviroStars brand has been building credibility and transparency into its certification since 1995.
Certified businesses are recognized with a 2- to 5-Star rating, and can use the EnviroStars logo to show they’ve had our third party assessment. This provides an easy way for the public to identify and support local businesses doing their part for the environment.
The EnviroStars window decal, logo, and certificate help you communicate your commitment to being environmentally responsible. The more proactive your efforts to reduce hazardous materials and waste and to incorporate best practices, the more benefits you can receive:
• Website listings and links
• Highlights in radio advertisements
• Profiles in local newspapers
• Achievement award nominations
• Promotion at community and trade events
There are more than 800 EnviroStars certified businesses in cities throughout the region – from Seattle to Spokane. Certification is provided by Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Skagit, Spokane and Whatcom counties.
See our website at http://www.envirostars.org for more information.
Give your house a fresh start with a good spring cleaning.
Dig into those dark places and you’ll likely find some hazardous things. Stuff like bug sprays, automotive products, lawn and garden chemicals, burned out fluorescent light bulbs, drain and oven cleaners, paint strippers, home maintenance products and medicines.
How can you tell the hazardous stuff?
Hazardous products say CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER, or POISON on the label and cannot go in the trash. Take them to the Hazardous Waste Collection sites…no charge. Shopping at the Auburn SuperMall? Save gas and combine trips – you can bring your hazardous waste there every weekend. Call 1-888-TOXIC-ED for more information.
Kids and chemicals don’t mix
Make sure hazardous products are stored safely away from children, who can confuse household hazardous products with food. The kids don’t read labels, and some containers and labels look fun and food-like. Reduce your stash of products and use safer alternatives as an easy way to make your home more kid-safe.
What is safer?
Your favorite product may have a safer alternative. Read the label and buy products marked CAUTION or WARNING, not DANGER and POISON. Find some safer alternatives on the Household Hazardous Products List.
What to do with old medicines?
Get rid of unwanted prescription drugs safely at locations listed in Take Back Your Meds. Protect your kids and pets from the medications you do keep; check out this video for tips on safe medicine storage.
What about other stuff?
For all other stuff, like appliances, carpets, electronics, tires, and lawn waste, see What do I do With?….
By Gail Gensler