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Alternatives to hazardous household products

 Tips on finding the safest household products  

Children, seniors and pets are particularly sensitive to household chemicals, and using less toxic household products can keep your home healthier and help protect the environment.

1. Look at the warning words on the label:
Least toxic are products with that don't have warnings.
Avoid products marked "Danger" or "Poison".
The same warning words don't always mean the same kind of hazard.

Safest Does not have “Caution, Warning, Danger, or Poison”
Moderate Hazard “Caution, Warning”
Highest Hazard “Danger, Poison”

2. Choose a product with no scent or only a mild scent. Scented products add a variety of chemicals to indoor pollution, especially challenging for children and people with respiratory ailments or sensitive skin.

3. Check the ingredients. Unlike food products, manufacturers are not required to list all the ingredients. Many products don't list ingredients in the 'Inert' category, and your family may be sensitive to these chemicals. Even when the ingredients are listed, the information can be confusing. Use the warning words as a guide. Learn more about potential health risks of products by name (National Institutes of Health).

4. Follow the product instructions for safest use. Reading the fine print will tell you about products not to mix (like ammonia and bleach), safe clean up and storage, and how to avoid water pollution or environmental harm.

 Use or make safer alternatives  Top

1. Suggestions for safer and healthier alternatives can be found in the household product list. Many products have suggested alternatives, especially common household cleaners that may contain hazardous ingredients: drain, toilet bowl, oven, bathtub/tub/tile, and all-purpose cleaners.

2. For low toxic do-it-yourself recipes try:
Safer Alternatives to Hazardous Household Products (King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks)

Safe Cleaning Products (how to choose products and recipes -- in English, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Spanish, and Chinese) (Seattle Public Utilities)

Green Cleaning Methods, Asthma resources: "Recipes" for your own cleaners (Public Health - Seattle & King County)

 Health Updates  

Bisphenol A (BPA), Plastic Bottles, Canned Goods, and You

 Support green businesses  Top

Shop at businesses in King County that are offering less toxic alternatives and doing their part to keep the environment cleaner (EnviroStars).
Visit green businesses (EnviroStars) throughout Puget Sound.

These garden stores (pdf, 81 KB, sell less-toxic plant care and pest control products and smart watering tools.

 More information  Top

Get fact sheets on household products and alternatives from Washington Toxics Coalition; check out information from the National Institutes of Health on potential health risks of products by name.

Breathe easier with tips from the American Lung Association. 

Using natural yard care techniques will keep your yard and household healthier.

Find out from the US EPA which products add to indoor air pollution.

Contact the Washington Poison Center, for Mr. Yuk stickers and more. National toll-free number:  1-800-222-1222
In Washington: 1-800-222-1222
TDD number in Seattle: 1-800-222-1222

For home reference:
Baking Soda, Over 500 fabulous, fun and frugal uses you've probably never thought of. Vicki Lansky, The Book Peddlers. Grandmother knew how useful baking soda is and now you can too.

Clean it Fast, Clean it Right. Edited Jeff Brendenberg, Rodale Press. Household tips from A to W (even a remedy for shrunken sweaters!) using common generic products.

Clean House, Clean Planet. Karen Logan, Pocket Books. Wealth of cleaning information and rates the effectiveness and cost estimates of alternatives.


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