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Reducing the Hazards PDF Print E-mail
Here's a few simple steps we can take to reduce the hazards of common household chemicals.

Taking action...

As householders, there is much we can do to eliminate the risks hazardous chemicals to our families.

Here's how to start:

  1. First, look in your kitchen and laundry. Make a list of the cleaning, pest management and other chemical products you find. Read the labels and list the chemical content of these products. List any warnings on the labels.
  2. Look through your medicine cabinet. List what you find and any warnings on the packaging.
  3. Go into your garage. List chemical products stored there including garden herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. Note any petroleum products such as motor oil and grease. Include paints and wood finishes on your list. List warnings and chemical contents of products.
  4. Look in other storage areas and do the same.
  5. You now have an inventory of potentially hazardous products in your home and, for some at least, an idea of the chemicals they contain and the risks manufacturers warn you against. Go to the A-Z of Chemicals in the Home to learn about the chemicals you have found and to identify their potential as hazards.
  6. Ask yourself two questions:
  • are all these chemical products properly stored where they are inaccessible to children, pose no fire danger and will not leak onto the soil or become an environmental risk?
  • are any of these products out of date (check the use-by date on the packaging, if any); contact your local council for the chemical collection dates and put the outdated materials out for collection.
  1. Consult some of the sources on this website. Against each chemical product write a safer alternative.
  2. Make a shopping list and next time, buy the safer alternative to replace those that are potentially hazardous with others that are less or non-toxic to our families. Dispose of the old chemical products through the council collection service.

Care in the garden - avoiding Legionnaire's Disease

A small incidence of the debilitating Legionnaire's Disease has occurred among gardeners handling commercially prepared, bagged potting mix.

  • the disease spreads through the airborne transmission of the Legionella bacteria.
  • risk of the disease increases with age, with young people rarely affected.

When handling the materials, the Victorian Department of Health advises gardeners to:

  • wear an industrial dust mask and gloves while using bagged potting mix and compost
  • moisten the potting mix to suppress dust
  • wash hands after handling potting mix or compost.

More information:

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