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How to Make Your Home Healthy and Safe

Build a Safe Home Playground

Make Your Home a Safe Haven for Kids

Avoid Grill Fires, Explosions and CO Poisoning

Dont Let a Burglar Ruin Your Vacation

Is Your Tap Water Safe?

Are Your Cleaning Products Making Your Family Ill?

Localities Crack Down on Homeowners Alarm Calls

Radon Sends Ripples through Water Systems

Are you a Hazardous Waste Case?


Five Ways To Reduce Your Family's Exposure

  • Don't use potentially hazardous chemicals unless absolutely necessary.

  • When a powerful cleaning product with hazardous chemicals must be used, follow these steps:

    1. Read the product label and follow the manufacturer's directions for use carefully.
    2. Keep the product in its original package for continued access to safety information and directions.
    3. Use the product only for its intended use.
    4. Always use the product in a well-ventilated area. Don't be afraid to lose some cooled or heated air in the process. Maintain venting systems that send indoor air outside.
    5. Reseal the container to as air-tight a state as possible before storing. Store chemicals outside the home if possible, or in a well-ventilated area.
    6. Products with volatile organic compounds, such as strippers and spot removers should be handled with special caution. Use the product outdoors or schedule use for mild weather when open windows and doors will not be a problem. Take regular breaks for fresh air while working. Use protective gloves and glasses. Keep children and pets away from the work area. Purchase only the needed amount to do the job so there is less left over to store.
    7. Limit the use of aerosols. These products become a serious inhalation hazard because their contents are dispersed in air as tiny droplets. Use pump sprays instead.

  • Do not overuse the recently introduced 'antibacterial' cleaning products.

    1. Use regular soap to wash your hands, and wash your hands often and vigorously, rinsing well.
    2. Use regular dishwasher liquid for washing kitchenware.
    3. If you need to disinfect a kitchen counter or floor, use a commercial bleach with appropriate ventilation and precautions, or use a nontoxic alternative [see products and recipes below].
    4. Don't buy household products like cutting boards or high chairs that are advertised as containing antibacterial agents. There is no evidence that they decrease the incidence of infection.
    5. Save the use of an antibacterial product for a situation serious enough to warrant its use. An example would be the arrival home of a vulnerable patient following a hospital stay for surgery or illness.

  • Consider buying commercial nontoxic or 'natural' cleaning products available at your local stores, or from the following internet websites:

    1. NEEDS (Nutritional Ecological and Environmental Delivery System): This website is a hub for health information and sells natural cleaning products from scores of manufacturers such as Allen's Naturally, Earthrite, and Safechoice. (
    2. Seventh Generation: This website sells a variety of nontoxic cleaning products (
    3. Livos Environmental Safe Cleaners: Over 1200 natural products including paints, stains, thinners, natural cleaners and polishes can be ordered from this website (
    4. Sinan Company: The website has natural wood finishes, paints and cleaning products (
    5. Soapworks: Amilya Antonetti's all-natural cleaning products, featuring organic ingredients such as coconut oil and white ginger. A best seller is the Natural Touch Soap Bar. Telephone 1-800-699-9917. Soapworks offers a free sample of their Fresh Breeze laundry soap (powder only) in scented or unscented. Please telephone or email Soapworks to get your free sample.

  • Make your own nontoxic cleaners out of easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients [see below]. Recipes for nontoxic cleaning products can be found in magazines and books. The seven frequently used ingredients are available at your grocery store. These are baking soda [sodium bicarbonate], borax, soap [flakes, liquid, and oil soap], washing soda [sodium carbonate], white vinegar, salt and lemon juice. Many recipes exist, often with many variations.

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