5 Steps to Protect Your Family's Health and the Environment

Danielle Farias
October 20, 2021

Many common household products may be hazardous to your family’s health and the environment. Play it safe - try the steps below.

1. Avoid household products marked “Danger”. Look for the word “danger” on cleaners, polishes, paint strippers, and pesticides. “Danger” means the product could poison you, cause serious damage to your skin or eyes, or easily cause a fire.

  • Choose products marked “caution” or “warning”, or better yet, products that don’t need warnings.
  • Choose water-based products, such as latex paint, white glue and water-based paint stripper.

2. Reduce your need for yard and garden pesticides. Pesticides are poisons. Besides killing bugs and weeds, they may also poison children, irritate eyes or skin, cause cancer or kill birds and fish.

  • Buy plants that will grow well in this climate and in your yard; they use less water and pesticides.
  • Build healthy soil by adding compost or aged manure and using slow-release organic fertilizers.
  • Try nonchemical products to control pests, such as teflon tape for root weevils or soap and water solution for aphids.

3. Recycle used motor oil. Water from storm drains is not treated and oil could end up in our streams and lakes, threatening fish and birds.

4. Use less-toxic cleaners. Some cleaners contain very hazardous ingredients that can burn your eyes, skin or lungs. Look for safer name brand substitutes at your local grocery store, or use simple alternatives. There are many everyday household products we all keep on hand that can be used for cleaning without doing damage to the environment. These include water, vinegar, baking soda, borax, mineral oil, newspapers, and rags.

5. Dispose of leftover hazardous products properly. Careless disposal of hazardous household products in a storm drain or sink can pollute local groundwater. If you throw them in the garbage, the chemicals can endanger collection and disposal workers.

For additional support on ways to introduce safer products into your household visit any of these websites:

Household Products Database--Health and Safety Information


Eco-labels--find out what the labels on your favorite products really mean http://www.greenerchoices.org/eco-labels/eco-home.cfm?redirect=1

Health Notes by Evelyn Ames--Antibacterial Household Products http://www.wwu.edu/wwura/0810.pdf

EPA Fact Sheet--Safe Substitutes At Home http://www.omasgartenpflanzen.com/Safe_Substitutes_At_Home.pdf

Eco-cycle--Eco-friendly Cleaning Recipes


Healthfacts--How to Keep Your Home Clean — but Not Toxic http://www.beliefnet.com/healthandhealing/getcontent.aspx?cid=100542

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