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Window or Glass Cleaners:

What is it?

These cleaners are used to clean windows throughout the house, glass tables, mirrors, and screens of TVs and computers. These cleaners are usually kept in the kitchen or bathroom.

What's in it?

The basic ingredients of window/glass cleaners are ammonia and isopropanol.

What health and safety precautions do you have to think about when using window/glass cleaners?

These products may be irritating to the eyes, skin, nose, and throat. If swallowed, they may cause drowsiness, unconsciousness, or death. Always wear glove to use these products and use in a well ventilated area.

Antibacterial Cleaner:

What is it?

Cleaners are used to remove dirt. Antibacterial cleaners remove dirt and kill bacteria. Bacteria are organisms too small to see with just your eyes. Some bacteria cause diseases or make you sick. Others do not.

Antibacterial cleaners come in a spray can or pump bottle container. They are commonly used in the kitchen to clean things that come in contact with food, like cutting boards and counter tops. Keeping these areas clean will help prevent harmful bacteria from contaminating your food. It is especially important to clean areas that come in contact with raw meats. Raw meats can also carry bacteria. Use an antibacterial kitchen cleaner or wash the area with hot soapy water.

What's in it?

Antibacterial cleaners usually contain water, a fragrance, a surfactant, and a pesticide. The surfactant breaks up the dirt, the pesticide kills the bacteria, the fragrance makes it smell good and the water holds the cleaner together. In antibacterial cleaners the pesticides are commonly quaternary ammonium or phenolic chemicals. They are known as antimicrobial pesticides.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with antibacterial cleaners?

Antibacterial cleaners are very irritating to your eyes and skin and will burn your throat. It's a good idea to wear latex dishwashing gloves to help protect your skin when using these cleaners. If you get some on the cleaner on your skin or in your eyes, wash it off immediately. Because antibacterial cleaners can be harmful, your exposure to them is important to know.

Dishwashing Detergent:

What is it?

These products are detergents used to wash dishes primarily in the kitchen. These detergents are divided into two categories: automatic dishwashing detergents and hand dishwashing detergents. These cleaners are usually kept in the kitchen.

What's in it?

Both of these contain cleaning agents with "cationic", "anionic", or "non-ionic" in their names. The main ingredient usually used in these detergents is phosphate.

What health and safety precautions do you need to think about when using dishwashing detergent?

Automatic dishwashing detergents have been known to produce skin irritations or burns. They are poisonous if swallowed. Hand dishwashing detergents are more mild than automatic dishwashing detergents. If swallowed, it may cause irritation to the mouth and throat, and nausea but not death. They are generally safe to people and to the environment.  Keep them away from small children to minimize the risk of accidental poisoning.

All-Purpose Cleaner:

What is it?

An All-purpose cleaner is a kind of cleaner which can be used for many different kinds of clean-up jobs around the house. All-purpose cleaners are used to clean windows, mop floors, or to clean kitchen and other appliances in your house. All-purpose cleaners are usually kept in the kitchen, but they can also be found in other parts of the house such as the bathroom, basement, or garage.

What's in it?

All-purpose cleaners may use many different kinds of ingredients, such as detergents, grease-cutting agents, solvents, and disinfectants.

All-purpose cleaners can contain hazardous chemicals such as:

Ammonia, Ethelyne glycol monobuytl acetate, sodium hypochlorite, trisodium phosphate.

 

What health and safety precautions do you have to think about when using all-purpose cleaners?

Depending upon the ingredients used, all-purpose cleaners can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. They can be highly poisonous if swallowed. Some of these chemicals have a sweet smell which attracts animals and which can poison them, too.

When using all purpose cleaners, follow these safety steps:

  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin
  • Be sure that there is good air circulation in the room. Open several windows or keep a fan running.
  • NEVER mix two cleaners of different kinds together, especially if one contains ammonia and the other contains chlorine. This can produce a gas called chloramine, and breathing its fumes could be fatal.

Insect Sprays:

What is it?

Insect sprays are used to get rid of ants, bees, flies, roaches, spiders, wasps and many other insects - even lice. Insect sprays are pesticides known as insecticides. There are many different kinds of insecticides. The kind to use depends on the type of insect and where you want to use it. Read the product label to find out. Not all insecticides can be used in your house. Some can only be used outside. 

Insecticides used around your home usually come in the form of liquids, sprays or powders. Sometimes they are mixed with other products that are used around your house. Sometimes they are mixed with other pesticides. For example a fertilizer for your grass may have an insecticide in it. It could even have both an insecticide and a herbicide (weed killer) in it.

What's in it?

Examples of pesticide chemicals commonly found in insecticides are permethrin, diazinon, propoxur, and chlorpyrifos.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with insecticides?

When you use an insecticide, especially indoors, make sure it doesn't get on food or things that come in contact with food like dish towels, dishes, silverware or counter tops. Insecticides can come in a spray can, bottle or container. Some insecticides that you buy from the store have to be mixed with water first before they can be used. 

Insecticides can hurt your eyes. They can make you really sick if you breathe their fumes, get some in your mouth or on your skin and you don't wash it off right away. They can also be fatal.

Oven Cleaners:

What is it?

Oven cleaners are used to help break up the baked on food stuck to the inside of the oven. Oven cleaners are usually kept in the kitchen.

What's in it?

The basic ingredient of oven cleaners is lye (either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide).

What health and safety precautions do you have to think about when using oven cleaners?

Lye is extremely corrosive, and can burn your skin and eyes. It is usually fatal if swallowed.

Because of the toxicity of these products, only an adult should use them. Always wear an apron, gloves, safety goggles and do not breathe the fumes. Make sure there is plenty of fresh air and ventilation when using these products.

Flea & Tick Spray

What is it?

These insects bite your pets and can carry disease. This is an insecticide product that is named for the way it is applied. It's applied to a small area on your dog or cat. It comes in liquid form. The pesticide  works by "spreading out" over your pet to kill and repel fleas and ticks.

What's in it?

Examples of pesticides contained in flea & tick sprays are chemicals called imidacloprid, fipronil, pyrethrins, permethrin, and methoprene.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with flea & tick sprays?

Be sure not to pet them for at least 24 hours. If you forget and do pet them, or you get any of the spray on your hands or skin, wash it off immediately with lots of soap and water. Whether or not you get sick from pesticides depends on exposure to them. 

Laundry Detergents:

What is it?

These are cleaners used to clean stains and loosen dirt from the household laundry. Laundry detergents are usually found in the laundry room or kitchen.

What's in it?

They contain cleaning agents with "cationic", "anionic", or "non-ionic" in their names. The laundry detergents additionally contain enzymes that are used to loosen stains and ground-in dirt.

What health and safety precautions do you need to think about when using laundry detergents?

These products may irritate skin or make people more sensitive to other chemicals. They might also cause asthma, however this is usually when used in extremely large quantities.  Detergents are responsible for many household poisonings by accidental swallowing. Keep these boxes and bottles out of reach of small children and only use as directed.

Chlorine Bleach:

What is it?

Did you know that a pesticide is added to your washing machine to help keep your white clothes white? This pesticide is also found in many household cleaning products that contain a "disinfectant" to kill germs. And it is found in household products used to clean mold and mildew from your shower or tub. Can you guess what this pesticide is? Chlorine Bleach!

You wouldn't think that ordinary chlorine bleach is a pesticide - but it is. Because it kills bacteria- and viruses it is called a disinfectant or an antimicorbial pesticide. And because it kills fungi and molds it is also known as a fungicide.

What's in it?

Standard household bleach contains the chemical sodium hypochlorite.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with chlorine bleach?

Liquid bleach in the bottle is a 5.25% sodium hypochlorite solution. That means 5.25% of the liquid is the chemical sodium hypochlorite and the rest is mostly water. The number 5.25% tells you how strong the concentration of a chemical is. Look at the labels of other household cleaning products that contain bleach in your home. Some contain sodium hypochlorite or chlorine bleach in concentrations of .7%, 1.8% and 2.4%.

Never mix a chlorine bleach with any other household or cleaning products. Doing so can result in different types of harmful acids being formed. Poisonous gasses can also be released that will cause very serious breathing problems.

Always be careful when using chlorine bleach. Because it comes in 1 gallon jugs the container can be a little hard to handle. Spills and splashes happen. Not only will the bleach damage your clothing but it is irritating to your skin and can cause serious damage to your eyes, even blindness. 

Rug Or Carpet Cleaners:

What is it?

These products are used to clean spots off of rugs and carpets. These cleaners are usually stored in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room.

What's in it?

The basic ingredients of carpet cleaners are perchloroethylene (used in dry cleaning) and naphthalene.

What health and safety precautions do you have to think about when using rug/carpet cleaners?

The fumes given off by rug cleaners can cause cancer, damage your liver, and have been known to cause dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, loss of appetite and disorientation. Be sure to use these products in well ventilated area and try not to breathe the fumes.

Flea Collars:

What is it?

The collar is made so that the pesticide is "molded into" or part of the collar. It diffuses or "leaks out" of the collar slowly for several months to protect your pet.

What's in it?

In flea collars the pesticide part are chemicals like fipronil, pyrethrins, permethrin, and methoprene. These chemicals are known as insecticides.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with flea collars?

Because the pesticide comes out of the collar you need to wash your hands thoroughly after touching them or petting your dog or cat. You don't want any pesticides from the collar to stay on your skin. If you rubbed your eyes the pesticides from the collar could get in your eyes. They could also get in your mouth if you put you hands to your mouth or picked up something to eat. This could be harmful. 

Air Fresheners:

What is it?

These products are used to freshen air in various places throughout the home including kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms. Air fresheners are usually stored in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.

What's in it?

There are four basic ingredients in air fresheners: formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p- dichlorobenzene, and aerosol propellants.

What health and safety precautions do you need to think about when using air freshners?

Air freshners are usually highly flammable and also strong irritants to eyes, skin, and thorat. Additionally, the solid fresheners usually cause death if eaten by people or pets.

They are thought to cause cancer and brain damage. They also are strong irritants to eyes, skin, and throat. These are usually highly flammable. Additionally, the solid fresheners usually cause death if eaten by people or pets. Please use precautions when using these products. Avoid spraying around open flame. Use only in a well ventilated area. Baking soda, which is not toxic, can also be used to freshen the air in your home.

Toilet Cleaners:

What is it?

Toilet cleaners clean and disinfect, or kill germs, in toilets. You probably wouldn't think these cleaners have pesticides in them, but they do. The pesticide is the disinfectant. This type of pesticide is known as an antimicrobial pesticide.

What's in it?

The pesticide chemicals usually found in toilet cleaners are sodium hypochlorite or bleach.

What health and safety things do you need to think about when using toilet cleaners?

Toilet bowl cleaners also have other chemicals in them too, like hydrochloric acid. Never mix a toilet bowl cleaner with any other household or cleaning products. Doing so can result in poisonous gasses being released and cause very serious breathing problems. Always be sure when cleaning your bathrooms that the room has plenty of ventilation. Leave the door open and use the exhaust fan, if you have one.

Most disinfectant cleaners are very irritating to your eyes and skin and will burn your throat. It's a good idea to wear latex dishwashing gloves to help protect your skin from splashes when using toilet cleaners. If you splash some on your skin wash it off immediately. 

Mold and Mildew Removers:

What is it?

Mildew is also the name of the discoloration caused by fungus. Maybe you have heard of "mildew stains." Molds and mildew like to grow in damp, dark places with little air circulation, like in bathrooms and basements.

What's in it?

The pesticide chemicals found in mold and mildew removers are chlorine and alkyl ammonium chlorides. These pesticides are known as fungicides.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with mold and mildew removers?

The chemicals in mold and mildew removers can be very caustic. That is, these cleaners can be corrosive to objects and harmful to humans. It's a good idea to wear latex dishwashing gloves to help protect your skin when using these products. If you get some on your skin wash it off immediately.

Cleaners with mold and mildew removers may also cause breathing problems and if swallowed, they will burn your throat. Because mold and mildew removers can be harmful, your exposure to them is important to know.

Drain Cleaners:

What is it?

These types of cleaners are used to unclog drains in sinks or in the bathroom. These cleaners are usually stored in the kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

What's in it?

The main ingredients that cause the drain to become unclogged are lye and sulfuric acid.

What health and safety precautions do you need to think about with drain cleaners?

Lye and sulfuric acid have dangerous fumes, can cause skin burns and in some cases blindness if they come in contact with your eyes. They can cause death if they are swallowed.  Always use protective gloves and wear goggles when using these products. Also, make sure that when these cleaners are used, there is good air circulation in the room.

Moth Balls

What is it?

Moth balls are round and white and look like big marbles. They have a very strong, unusual smell. They don't smell very good. Moth balls are used as a repellent. They keep insects that eat natural fibers like wool and paper, away from clothes or books that may be stored in your closet, attic or basement. Moths and silverfish are examples of insects that do damage to things in storage.  The type of repellant in moth balls can also be shaped like a flake, a thick disk or like a bar of soap. Maybe you have seen one in a baby's diaper pail or in a blanket chest. 

What's in it?

The pesticides in moth balls are chemicals known as naphthalene or para-dichlorobenzene.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with moth balls?

Coming in contact with moth balls can cause an irritation, like a burning feeling to your eyes and skin. You can get quite sick if you eat or breathe the fumes from moth balls, especially those containing naphthalene. 

Bombs / Foggers:

What is it?

Total release foggers are commonly used to get rid of fleas, ticks, and roaches. 

What's in it?

The pesticide chemicals in foggers are pyrethrins, permethrin, and methoprene. These chemicals are known as insecticides.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with foggers or "bombs?"

For these products to do their job they need to be used in an enclosed area. That means all windows and doors for the room or house must be closed. Foggers or "bug bombs" send their spray gas everywhere, so it's not safe to stay in your house even when the doors are closed in the room where the fogger is being used. Gases are hard to contain and will seep under doors and into air vents. So for everyone's safety all people and animals must be out of the house when a fogger or "bug bomb" is being used.

Also, toys should be taken out of the room or put away. No food, plates, cups, silverware or things you cook with should be left out anywhere. The tops of tables and counters should be cleaned before you use them. After the fogger has finished doing it's job the house has to be aired out before people can spend time inside again. Turn on your air conditioner, or open the windows. Using fans will help air out the house faster too.

Another important thing to know is that the contents of foggers can be flammable. A fire or explosion can happen if they are not used according to the directions. Some common symptoms you might get if you come in contact with foggers or "bug bombs" are burning in your eyes and on your skin or trouble breathing. 

Weed Killers:

What is it?

Weed killing pesticides come in different forms sprays, powders, or mixed in with fertilizers. They are also known as herbicides. So how does a weed killing herbicide know what is a weed and what isn't? It doesn't. For example, a herbicide that is formulated or made to kill bushy weeds like poison ivy or poison oak, can also kill other plants, grasses and even trees. 

What's in it?

The common pesticides in weed killers are diquat, 2,4-D, and glyphosate.

What health and safety things do you need to think about with weed killers?

Some weed killers are not very toxic or poisonous. But they will still cause burning in your eyes and on your skin. Other weed killers can be very toxic. They can be very harmful if you swallow or inhale them or if you get a large amount on your skin and don't immediately wash it off. 

Swimming Pool Chemicals, Chlorine:

What is it?

Did you know that a common chemical used around your house for cleaning and disinfecting is also used in swimming pools? Chlorine is used to kill bacteria and control algae in your pool water so that it is safe for swimming. Along with other chemicals it works to keep the walls and bottom of your pool clean.

The chlorine is actually contained in swimming pool chemicals such as calcium or sodium hypochlorite. These chemicals are known as "antimicrobial pesticides." The calcium and sodium hypochlorite used in pools come as tablets, granules and sometimes as a liquid.

What's in it?

Disinfectants containing chlorine for use in swimming pools are the chemicals calcium and sodium hypochlorite

What health and safety things do you need to think about with swimming pool chemicals?

Unlike water from your faucet, which is also disinfected, you should not drink water from the pool. Why? Lets think about it. Water from your faucet is treated so that a safe level of chlorine is always available to kill germs. It is in a closed system until it comes out of your faucet. But pool water is open to contamination from the air and all those people in it! Also, the concentrations of chlorine and other chemicals added to the pool have to be higher than those in drinking water. Why higher? Because not only is there contamination of the water from many sources but these chemicals also become less effective with time due to evaporation and exposure to the sun.

Although the chemicals used to keep your pool clean are also contained in other household products, there is a difference. The difference is the concentration of the chemical. A chemical's concentration is how strong it is. For example, some household cleaners contain two percent (2%) chlorine. Bleach has five percent (5%). Chemicals for use in swimming pools can contain from 12 to 95 percent (12% to 95%) chlorine. Why so strong? Because the chemicals are meant to be diluted or added to water, lots of water, before they are safe to use.

What can happen if you come in contact with swimming pool chemicals before they are added to water? Like the disinfectant cleaners, these can be very caustic. Swimming pool chemicals can cause breathing problems and will burn your eyes and skin. If swallowed, they will burn your throat; and they can be fatal. How badly you could get hurt depends on your exposure to them. As a general rule, if you get any chemicals on your skin or in your eyes, wash it off with lots of water right away.

Baits for Rodent Control:

What is it?

Rodent baits are used to get rid of mice and rats that can come into the home or get into outdoor sheds in your yard. These products are usually in the form of powders or little pellets and have no odor or smell. They are very poisonous. After the mice or rats eat the bait, they become sick and will die. This type of pesticide is called a rodenticide. 

What's in it?

The pesticide commonly found in baits is known as warfarin.

What health and safety things do you need to think about when using baits?

Even small amounts of these pesticides can be very harmful and make you sick. 

Insect Repellents:

What is it?

Repellents are used outdoors to keep insects away so they won't land on or bite people. Repellents for mosquitos and ticks are the most common type. An insect repellent that you spray on your skin or clothes is an example of this kind of product. Maybe you used one yourself if you were in your backyard on a summer evening or went camping with your family.

Insect repellents are sold in spray cans, small bottles of liquid, creams and sometimes as a "stick" like a deodorant.

What's in it?

The pesticide commonly found in repellents are pyrethrins and DEET. DEET is a common name or nickname for the chemical N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide.

What health and safety things do you need to think about when using repellents?

It is very important to follow the directions on the container. Don't get repellents in your eyes or mouth, or in a cut on your skin. Don't spray it on your face. Take a bath to wash it off when you come indoors and put your clothes in the laundry.

The chemicals in repellents may cause your eyes, skin or throat to burn. If the label says that you can apply the repellent to skin or clothes, you might want to apply it only to your clothes. It will work just as well. Since repellents contain pesticides you need to be careful when you use them. 

 
Informing the public since March, 2003.