Household chemical hazards

Even though the risk of a chemical accident is low, knowledge about how to handle household products containing hazardous materials or chemicals can reduce the risk of injury.


Storing household chemicals in places where children don’t have an access is extremely important. Remember that products such as aerosol can of hairspray, deodorant, nail polish, nail polish remover, toilet cleaner and furniture polish belong to the category of hazardous materials. Hazardous household chemicals may include:
• Housekeeping products
• Pesticides
• Automotive products such as antifreeze or engine oil
• Various items: batteries, mercury thermometers and fluorescent lamps
• Flammable products such as kerosene, fuel oil, propane tanks and lighter fluid
• Workshop or painting materials like: paint thinners and turpentine
• Lawn and garden products: herbicides and insecticides

Below, we present guidelines for the safe purchase and storage of hazardous household chemicals:
• Store products containing hazardous materials in original containers and don’t remove labels unless the container is corroded. Corroding containers should be repackaged and clearly labelled
• Never store hazardous product in a food container
• Don’t mix hazardous household chemicals or garbage with other products. Chemical reactions may occur and lead to an explosion or fire
• Never use hairspray, cleaning solutions, paint products or pesticides nearby the open fire
• Remove any spilled chemicals immediately. Allow the fumes from the rags to evaporate outside, then remove the rags by wrapping them in a newspaper and placing them in a closed plastic bag in the waste bin
• Properly dispose of hazardous materials


Leave the house immediately if there’s a danger of fire or explosion:
• Stand upwind away from buildings to avoid inhaling toxic fumes
• Recognise and respond to signs of toxic poisoning, including:
o Respiratory difficulties
o Irritation of the eyes, skin, throat or airways
o Skin colour changes
o Headache or blurred vision
o Dizziness, clumsiness or lack of coordination
o Spasms or diarrhoea
• If someone in your area has experienced toxic symptoms of poisoning or has been exposed to household chemicals, call the 112 number immediately. Find any containers of the substance that may have caused the poisoning in order to provide the services with the required information
• Follow the operator or dispatcher’s first aid instructions. Instructions on the containers may be out of date or even inadequate. Don’t administer anything orally unless the doctor recommends it


• Throw away any clothes that might have been contaminated. Some chemicals may not be completely rinsed out during the washing process