Hazards In Your Home

How to dispose of household hazardous waste.

Most people don't even think about the contents of the cupboards in their home. Similarly, they are unconcerned by the things they store in their garages, attics, and basements. They don't think about what they're using to clean the sink, how they dispose of their old batteries, or what the chemicals leaking from jugs in the basement might be doing to them, much less to the environment. This article is meant to get you thinking about those hazards in your home that might pose a danger to you or the environment.

Toiletries and Drugs

Products that you keep in the bathroom such as nail polish remover, perfumes, rubbing alcohol, and prescription drugs can harm you through exposure or overdose - inhaling the fumes from nail polish remover, for instance, can make you ill, dizzy, and even kill brain cells - and can also harm the environment through improper disposal. Chemical-based scented products can harm fish and poison water while drugs flushed down the toilet can build up and kill or mutate fish and even the people who eat them.

Cleaning Chemicals

Household cleaners and other common chemical based products such as solvents, pesticides, glues, plastics, detergents, fuels, can cause illness, brain damage, and cancer if absorbed in significant amounts through the lungs, skin or stomach, and can have long term effects even in small amounts. When they leave your property through the drains, in the trash, and through the soil, they also harm the environment. Phosphates from laundry soap, for example, can cause algae blooms that suffocate marine life.

Building Materials

The materials that are left over from the building or renovation of our homes are often left in the garage, basement, or in the yard just in case they're needed in the future. However old insulation and particle board may contain formaldehyde or asbestos that is toxic to humans. Some pressure treated lumber also contains arsenic. These chemicals can leech out and contaminate the air in your home as well as getting into the ground through runoff and poisoning underground water reserves.


Even the newest electronics, such as iPods, internet routers, computers, TVs, and microwaves, contain extremely harmful metals such as chromium, cadmium, lead, battery acids, and mercury as well as chemicals in the plastic shells that cover them. Exposure through leeching or burning can cause illness and cancer, and sometimes even babies in cloth diapers may be harmed by their emissions (such as radio and micro waves). The older they are, the more likely that they are harmful. Their impact on the environment, however, is worse. These substances can get into and poison the ground water if improperly disposed of.

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The Enviroment

Tuesday, July 16, 2024