Most of us have hazardous products in our home! The definition of a household hazardous product is one that: "presents a health or environmental threat when used, stored or thrown away improperly. " Products are considered hazardous if they are:
> Flammable
> Toxic
> Corrosive
> Reactive
How do we know what is hazardous?
The best way to learn what is hazardous is to read the product label.

The labels contain signal words , which tell how hazardous the product is. (Signal words words represent the hazard of a product, not its proper disposal. See the hazardous waste section on this site for proper disposal info)
Signal words and what they mean:
> Poison: highly toxic
> Danger: extremely hazardous
> Warning: moderately hazardous
> Caution: mildly/moderately hazardous
> No signal word: The product is probably not hazardous. However ,
the product may be too old - if produced before 1987 -
to have a signal word even if it is hazardous. Below are examples of hazardous products that many of us have in our homes/garages:
*drain cleaner *oven cleaner *toilet bowl cleaner *bleach
*nail polish & polish remover *cleaners with bleach *latex paint
*oil-based paint *paint thinner *paint stripper *solvents
*varnish *wood preservatives *pesticides *weed killers
*rodent bait *bug spray *lighter fluid *motor oil
*automotive fluids *driveway sealer *aerosol products
*fluorescent light bulbs *rechargeable batteries & button batteries
*pool chemicals *ammonia *windshield washer fluid *concrete cleaner
*roofing tar *turpentine *kerosene *moth balls *rubbing alcohol
*putty, grout, caulk The DIRT on Commercial Cleaners
All of the products that have been listed so far contain one, or more, ingredient that may pose health and/or environmental problems if used, stored or disposed of improperly but let's address hazards posed by some common household cleaners. (Note: The chart has limitations; not all commercial products in a given category contain all the ingredients listed. Read the labels on products to find out what the ingredients are.) Product ----- Commercial Oven Cleaners
May Contain -- Ether-type solvents, petroleum distillates,
methylene chloride, butyl cellusolve, lye
Toxicity ----- All ingredients except the lye are neurotoxic &
central nervous system depressants. Methylene chloride
is a liver & kidney poison. Lye is a corrosive poison.
Ether-type solvents can contain impurities including the
carcinogen benzene, & can cause respiratory distress.
Disposal ----- Household Hazardous Waste Facility
Product ------ Commercial Toilet Bowl Cleaners
May Contain --- Complex phosphates, o-or-p dichlorobenzene,
chlorinated phenols, kerosene, salicylates,
germicides, fungicides, 1,3 - Diochloro - 5,
sodium acid oxalate, sodium acid sulfate
Toxicity ----- Some of those ingredients are highly toxic.
Some are highly corrosive. Fungicides can cause
kidney & liver damage. One of the ingredients is
a liver & kidney poison as well as a powerful
central nervous system depressant. Germicides
can be toxic.
Disposal ---- Household Hazardous Waste Facility
Product ---- Bleach
May Contain --- Sodium hypochlorite, borax
Toxicity ----- Reactive, irritant. Releases toxic gases when
combined with ammonia or acid.
Disposal ----- Household Hazardous Waste Facility
Product --- Commercial All Purpose Cleaners - Abrasive & liquid
May Contain -- Complex phosphates, chlorinated phosphates, dry bleach,
kerosene, morpholine, petroleum-based surfactants,
sodium bromide, glycol ether, Stoddard solvent,
EDTA, naphtha
Toxicity --- Chlorinated materials can form organo-chlorine compounds,
which in turn are stored in fat cells & can enter
mothers milk. Morpholine is very toxic and a liver and a
kidney poison. Some ingredients are neurotoxins & central
nervous system depressants. Glycol ether is also a
kidney and liver poison.
Disposal --- Household Hazardous Waste Facility
Product --- Commercial Spot/Stain Remover
May Contain -- P-hydroxybenzoic acid, oxalic acid, naphtha, benzene,
perchloroethylene or trichloroethylene, sodium hypochlorite,
hydrofluoric acid, aromatic petroleum solvents,
aliphatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons, other
petroleum hydrocarbons
Toxicity --- Many of the ingredients are carcinogenic, suspected of being
carcinogenic, neurotoxic, central nervous system
depressants, stored in fatty tissue, a cause of respiratory
distress, liver and kidney poisons, toxic and corrosive
and can cause death.
Disposal --- Household Hazardous Waste Facility