The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010 exposed the dangers of industrial hazardous waste. That said, many people still don’t know all the facts about household hazardous waste lurking in and around their homes. Here’s what you need to know:
Facts about Household Hazardous Waste
Household hazardous waste, if you’re like the average American, is accumulating in your home as you read this blog.
Scope of the Problem
That’s because most people have a collective one hundred pounds or more of hazardous waste in their garages, sheds, closets and basements. This is a big problem and it’s not going away without a fight.
In fact, Americans generate upwards of 1.5 million tons of household hazardous waste annually, and that number is growing as more waste sources are identified and the population continues to grow.
So where the heck does this waste come from and why is it so harmful – hazardous, if you will – for the people who ignore the problem and the environment that suffers the consequences?
Sources of Household Hazardous Waste
The answer is that household hazardous waste, as you may have guessed based on where it resides in the home (garages, closets, etc.), takes the form of household cleaners, battery acid, wall paint and common pesticides.
Car batteries and automative fluids can also accumulate in garages over time and pose significant health risk and environmental dangers.
As with most problems, though, the first step you can take to combat the problem is to identify the problem in the first place: forewarned is forearmed.
Identifying Household Hazardous Waste
People are probably already most familiar with the skull-and-crossbones symbol denoting poisonous (a.k.a., toxic) materials. These could include household cleaners that also happen to be a household hazardous waste source.
Household hazardous waste may also be labelled as flammable, corrosive or reactive (see symbols in link below).
Flammable hazardous waste (e.g., paint thinner or gasoline) is really a double whammy for homeowners in terms of liability – it ignites easily and burns rapidly.
This means that you’ll want to have any product labelled with the flammable hazardous waste symbol quickly disposed of and kept away from heaters and other fire sources around your home.
Corrosive hazardous waste might be the scariest type of household hazardous waste on this list because this type of hazardous waste has the potential to do some real damage if it comes into contact with your skin.
That’s because the “corrosive” part of corrosive household hazardous waste means that this type of waste can cause your skin to literally disintegrate. If that’s not scary enough, corrosive hazardous waste (e.g., bleach and battery acid) can also eat away at storage materials or part of your home as well.
Consider safely disposing corrosive household hazardous waste right away. Corrosive hazardous waste might be lurking in your yard, garage or storage closet right now so it’s important to deal with the problem before it gets out of hand.
Reactive, or explosive, household hazardous waste is usually labelled in a way that sometimes throws people off – it shows a chemical reaction or explosion outward. Compared to the skull-and-crossbones symbol this is harder to quickly take in.
The dangers of reactive household hazardous waste, though, are very real. Reactive household hazardous waste can come in the form of any product that mixes bleach and ammonia in a way that could trigger a chemical reaction.
Toxic, also known as poisonous, household hazardous waste comes in the form of pesticides and expired medicines. Having these around your home could be dangerous. Contact Jung King-Marin to get it handled today.