Protecting Your Family

Do Your Homework
Keep toxic chemicals out of your household by being a smart consumer.
  • Before you purchase a cleaning product, do some research. Find out its active ingredients and whether or not they pose a danger to your family or pets.
  • Scan the label for hazard warnings. The words “Caution” or “Warning” show a product that is slightly to moderately toxic, while “Danger” means it is extremely flammable, corrosive, or highly toxic.
  • The following websites are good sources of information on the safety of common ingredients found in cleaning products.
  • The National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine compiled this searchable database of safety information on common household products.
  • For more information about specific chemicals, you can search the ToxFAQs database.
Cut It Out
The best thing you can do to prevent toxic exposure is to stop buying products that contain dangerous chemicals. This can either mean using commercial brands that manufacture their products without these chemicals, or making your own cleaning products out of simple, non-toxic ingredients. Switching to less toxic products not only benefits the health of your loved ones, but the health of the environment as well! View recipes for some safe and cheap homemade cleaning products online.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read
Just because a product claims to be ok for you or the environment doesn’t mean it is true. Labels such as “natural,” “environmentally friendly,” “eco-safe,” “green,” and even “non-toxic” have no legal definition and can be found on products that are anything but. However, there are certain certifications and labels that can be trusted. Consumer Reports has compiled this website evaluating the meaning of various labels.
Poison
Get Rid of It, But Don’t Just Toss It Out
Now that you have decided to make the change to cleaning products that are safer for your family and the environment, you’ll probably want to dispose of leftover toxic cleaners or their empty containers. Don’t just throw these in the trash! Once in the landfill, these chemicals can leak out and contaminate the soil and groundwater, posing serious threats to people and the environment. In Whatcom County these chemicals are handled by the Disposal of Toxics program. To get more information about proper disposal call 360-380-4640.