Hazardous materials are chemical substances, which if released or misused can pose a threat to the environment or health. These products are either toxic, flammable, corrosive, reactive, or a combination of these properties.
- Toxic products are poisonous or cause illness. Examples are household cleaners, paint thinner, pesticides and medication (in certain amounts or for certain people).
- Flammable products ignite or burn easily. Examples include paint, paint thinner, and many automotive products.
- Corrosive products can eat through other materials. Examples are acid, automotive batteries, and oven, toilet bowl and drain cleaners.
- Reactive products can create poisonous vapors when mixed with other products. Some can explode when exposed to heat, air or water, or when shaken.
A hazardous materials accident can occur anywhere. Communities located near chemical manufacturing plants are particularly at risk. However, hazardous materials are transported on our roadways, railways and waterways daily, and nearly all households use products that contain hazardous materials, so any area is considered vulnerable to an accident.
Household Hazardous Materials
Household hazardous materials are found in most of our homes. They have labels that contain the following words: Caution, Danger, Poison, or Warning. You can safely use these items by adhering to the following:
- Store all household products according to the instructions on the label.
- Keep chemicals and medications out of reach of children.
- Never mix household chemicals together! They may react, ignite or explode. For example, mixing bleach with ammonia is very dangerous; doing so will release a toxic gas.
- Read instructions on how to dispose of chemicals properly.
- Find out the best ways to dispose of unused medication through the Iowa Pharmacy Association’s website.
Information courtesy of ReadyIowa
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