Our daily life includes various activities, mainly in the family home. Some of these activities may involve the use of chemicals. Potentially dangerous chemicals are unavoidable in our homes. Although we use them for a number of reasons, if not stored or handled safely, these substances can be the cause of mild to significant and even more serious health problems in our homes.
What household chemicals do you use every day in your home? Perhaps you are thinking of taking a walk through the rooms of your home. Surely you will discover some substances that you use consciously or unconsciously. Have you thought about the health risks they pose? Don't forget that most chemicals you use around the house are reasonably safe if you follow the manufacturer's safety instructions. Strictly following the guidelines regulates the level at which a particular chemical can cause harm. So, always remember to "read the guidelines carefully before use".
Chemical hazards in your home
Common household chemicals remind us of the direct impact that all chemicals on the market have directly on our lives. Very often, we apply these chemicals to improve our standard of living by efficiently cleaning, degreasing and even disinfecting surfaces. However, many useful chemicals are also dangerous. Familiarize yourself with chemicals, the risks they pose to people and the environment, and how you can prevent harm.
Pesticide is a term that covers a variety of chemicals used to control pests. These include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and sometimes repellents. They are toxic chemicals that we use in our homes on a daily basis; therefore they contaminate us directly with poison. Chemical analysis of some vegetable samples shows that the amount of chemicals in most green foods consumed is above recommended limits. Furthermore, studies have found that this toxic chemical contamination of food is due to faulty monitoring systems and policies.
paints and solvents
Paints are coatings that are applied to surfaces in liquid form. Its main purpose is to protect surfaces from dullness, direct sunlight and other weather related influences. At home, colors add elegance and make surfaces easy to clean. Solvents, on the other hand, are liquids or even gases that, when dissolved, can remove fats, oils, and pigments from paints. Unfortunately, when these organic solvents are used in our homes, they expose us to a number of health risks, with symptoms such as headaches or drowsiness. In extreme cases, they cause respiratory arrest and even fainting. In addition, the harmful effects of paints and solvents include liver and kidney failure, and affect the skin as well.
Most conventional household cleaners contain ingredients that can cause health problems. A significant number of them also contain carcinogenic compounds. Although these products are widely used, the intensity of their exposure to the body can cause health problems. Some of the harmful substances found in household cleaning products include the following.
- sodium hypochlorite:When mixed with acids like vinegar, it releases chloramine gas, which is responsible for respiratory problems like asthma.
- Petroleum Distillates:It is mainly found in metal polishes. The chemicals irritate the eyes and lungs, and excessive exposure to them can damage the nervous system and even the skin.
- phenol and cresol:It is a chemical found mainly in disinfectants. If ingested, it causes diarrhea, dizziness, and can damage the liver and kidneys.
- Hydrochloric acid:it's an obvious compound in bathroom cleaners. Causes skin burns and can cause blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes. It also causes stomach burns if swallowed.
polishes and waxes
In this category are floor polish, shoe polish, nail polish, metal polish chemicals, and furniture polish. All these substances are used at home for different reasons. The polishes and waxes used are synthetic flavoring agents. They are also derived from crude oil, which contains derivatives of benzene, toluene, and other chemical reagents suspected of causing cancer, birth defects, and central nervous system damage, as well as allergic health problems.
Automotive products are a category of health hazards that many seem to ignore. However, its effects on the environment and human health cause astonishment. For example, when a car leaks oil and comes into contact with groundwater, contaminating water resources, affecting foliage and wildlife in general. Additionally, automotive coolants contain ethylene glycol, a compound that can affect the nervous systems of humans and wildlife.
There are substances that we use in our homes that are not considered or classified as toxic. Instead, they are classified as miscellaneous and include fluorescent lamps, batteries, and mercury thermometers. For example, fluorescent lamps contain mercury in their glass bulbs and are harmless as long as they are sealed. However, if the bulb breaks, the mercury can be released as a vapor and cause long-term health problems. As such, the EPA recommends that everyone handle lamps with care and provide cleanup steps in the event a lamp fails.
Chemical Spill Incidents in US Homes
Chemicals are essential in our daily lives and as part of our environment. Even if we don't have a plan for it, we use chemicals every day. We use them to clean our bodies and our floors. Our factories grow better with chemicals, and these compounds serve cars too. Chemicals make our lives efficient, healthy, and easy.
Under certain conditions, the chemical compounds become harmful and affect your health. While most chemicals are safe when used as directed or in small amounts, they can have adverse health effects when used in large amounts. Therefore, it is good to be prepared and geared towards some chemical emergency response tactics. There are three main ways we are exposed to chemicals.
- through inhalation
- touch the chemical
Thousands of tons of chemicals are manufactured and also shipped to the American society each year. As the use of chemicals increases, the rates of chemical-related cases also increase. There are several chemical spill incidents in the United States as classified by the CDC.
Reaction of sodium hypochlorite with acids.
When sodium hypochlorite comes into contact with a weak acid, it reacts to form deadly chlorine gas. The same gas causes skin and lung irritation. In small amounts, chlorine gas causes coughing and irritation to the eyes and mouth. Prolonged exposure to chlorine can be fatal.
Bleach mix with ammonia
As we have seen, chlorine gas (chlorine-based bleach) is a dangerous gas, so you should never mix it with ammonia. The reaction of the two chemicals produces chloramine or hydrazine vapor, which is deadly. Chloramine vapors irritate the eyes and respiratory tract, and also damage the internal organs of the body. Additionally, hydrazine is a toxic and explosive vapor that can cause agonizing death.
The reaction of hydrogen peroxide and dilute acid.
When cleaning dirty surfaces at home, you can mix vinegar with hydrogen peroxide. The answer will provide a more robust solution, but it will also form peracetic acid. Unfortunately, peracetic acid is a corrosive compound that causes burns and irritates the eyes and respiratory tract. Don't forget about its ability to corrode metal surfaces.
Alternative to dangerous chemicals
There are as many on the table as chemical alternatives, but total removal is the last word. When the American public buys fewer or no household chemicals, the message goes back to the manufacturer. On the other hand, the garden and the soil of the house can also thrive without chemicals. So how do we get rid of dangerous chemicals?
As the saying goes, "prevention is better than cure". One of the best ways to reduce problems caused by dangerous chemicals is to make sure problems don't happen. Don't wait for kitchen stains to dry and become permanent. Immediately pour baking soda and warm water - fight flies, spiders and other insects and make sure the house is clean. Some agricultural practices, such as B. growing selected plants on lawns, are resistant to diseases, pests, and weeds.
Use alternative methods
Some problems in your home only require physical action to fix. What are some physical alternatives to some chemical methods?
- Colors -Water based paints are safer compared to oil based paints and spray paint. They are also easy to clean and safe to dispose of. If you used thinner, save the rest for another day.
- pesticides -There are numerous safer alternatives to commercial chemicals currently on the market. For example, you can consider biological treatments like Bacillus Therengensis on plants like cabbage to control cabbage worms.
- Domestic cleaningToday, most housework and cleaning jobs are done with just a few basic ingredients. However, the decisions generated have certainly served society for decades. With the necessary ingredients like baking soda, vegetable oil, and vinegar, you can create safer cleaning products in your home.
Use only safe products.
Sometimes the market does not offer adequate alternatives. In this case, select the least hazardous and safest chemicals for the application. In this way, environmental problems caused by hazardous waste are reduced.
How to avoid chemical injuries
Home is always the place where we protect ourselves from external stress. Most of the time we think of our homes as peaceful and safe, but people are still unaware of the risks posed by toxic chemicals in our homes, such as detergents, paints, and pesticides. Understanding how to deal with household chemicals is the first step in reducing their harm.
- Keep household chemicals out of the reach of children.
- Store chemicals in the manufacturer's packaging and never remove stickers and labels. Corroded containers must be relabeled.
- Hazardous chemicals should never be stored in food containers.
- Household chemicals should never be mixed with other reactive products. For example, chemicals like chlorine and ammonia are highly reactive and explosive.
- Hairspray, cleaning products, paint, and pesticides should never be used near an open flame.
- Clean up spilled chemicals as soon as they are spilled. After cleaning, allow the smoke from the cloths to evaporate in the open air. After that, wrap them in newspaper and put them in a plastic bag before disposing of them.
- Dispose of hazardous waste safely. Also, don't forget to save the emergency number for national poison control.
How to protect your family from dangerous chemicals
Today there are a number of household chemicals that are used for both indoor and outdoor use. The chemicals used for outdoor events are mostly agrochemicals. These include solvents, fuels, herbicides, and pesticides. Although they make all of our jobs efficient, chemicals are sometimes dangerous to human and animal life. Therefore, it is important that you and your family members protect yourself from the adverse effects of chemicals.
- Keep pesticides and herbicides out of the reach of children. Once emptied, please ensure your bins are disposed of correctly or collected for recycling.
- Make sure your children are protected from chemical poisoning. In case of a problem, call 911 for help or check the label for first aid instructions.
- Expose your children to an open environment. For example, make sure your children participate in outdoor activities, reduce smoke pollution in the area, etc.
- Limit lead poisoning in your home at all costs. Here you can test your children for lead poisoning and emphasize washing hands before eating and toys before playing.
- Make sure your children are free from CO poisoning. In this case, avoid driving cars in the garage and also install CO sensors and alarms.
- Do not let your children play with contaminated water.
- Sunscreen, your children
With the increasing number of seniors living independently, it's important to make sure they're safe in their homes. Unfortunately, poisoning is one of the most common accidents among the elderly. If you're a senior living alone or caring for a senior, here's how you can make sure your senior is safe from chemical hazards.
- Avoid heating the room with an oven or grill, as they emit carbon monoxide.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms.
- Store all chemicals and medicines in their original containers.
- Make sure all chemical and medication containers are properly labeled.
- Some cleaning chemicals are flammable and can cause severe burns.
First aid measures in chemical emergencies
A chemical emergency occurs when a hazardous chemical with the potential to be life-threatening is ingested. If it happens:
- Stop the chemical source. Keep the victim away from contact with the chemical.
- Clear the lungs: make sure the victim has access to fresh air.
- Rinse eyes with clean water. Take care not to contaminate the unaffected eye.
- Clean the affected skin area with fresh water.
- If problem persists, call a doctor or 911
How to dispose of chemical waste
Potential environmental and health risks associated with household hazardous waste (HHW) can be avoided by carefully monitoring the use, storage, and disposal of products that contain potentially hazardous substances. Improper disposal of HHW includes pouring it down drains or onto floor surfaces, and placing it in regular trash cans.
Dispose of household chemical waste properly, preferably in plastic bottles. Store residues by compatibility, not alphabetically.
While millions of people use household chemicals, the impact of the ingredients on the environment is damaging. Continued use of even small amounts of these chemicals poses a long-term risk to the health of animals, plants, and humans.
- For example, washing chemicals contain phosphates that pollute the water. When phosphate reaches watersheds, it triggers algae growth, limiting oxygen supplies and killing aquatic life.
- Many household chemicals contain compounds that cause skin irritation or serious health problems if ingested. Additionally, some substances are associated with conditions such as asthma and cancer.
- Pesticides destroy the ozone layer when applied to crops.
Household chemicals are inventable in our environment. For decades we have used them successfully and achieved application results. But on the other hand, these chemicals have negative health effects on our lives. Thinking about using alternatives is what provides lasting medicine and ensures that we live in a safe environment. Having these chemicals in place ensures that the elderly and children are not exposed to danger. You will also learn about the best first aid techniques and healthy disposal practices.
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