According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional poisoning results in almost 82 deaths per day in the United States, and an additional 1,941 emergency room visits. Proper storage and handling of poisonous materials is a common-sense approach to safeguarding your family and pets, but do you know all of the poison hazards in your home? Of all the potentially dangerous products in the average home, the following are the 9 most common household poisons:
- Medicines – If not kept out of the reach of children, or if not taken as prescribed, common medications in the home can be poisonous. Cold and flu medicines, and analgesics account for a large number of poisonings.
- Cosmetics / Personal Care Products – Among children under the age of 6, who account for more than half the cases of unintentional poisonings in the U.S., these products are most commonly involved. Perfumes, nail polish remover, mouthwash, even toothpaste are poison risks for children.
- Cleaning Products – Bleach, ammonia, solvents, furniture polish; drain cleaners, oven cleaners, lye and detergents all need to be stored properly and kept out of children’s reach and away from pets.
- Pesticides – When treating the home for pests, it is important to take care in what areas are treated and to observe the label instructions very closely. Rodent poisons should never be placed within reach of children or pets, or in food storage areas. Always wear gloves when handling pesticides.
- Paints / Paint Thinners – Whether via fume inhalation, ingestion, or lead poisoning, paints and thinners are potentially hazardous products. Care should be taken to use proper ventilation when using these products.
- Plants – Some household plants can be toxic when ingested by pets or small children. Around the holidays, hazards include such common decorative plants as mistletoe, poinsettias and holly.
- Small Batteries – The combination of their size and chemical composition makes these miniature batteries, like those used in watches and hearing aids, a serious choke and poisoning risk.
- Antifreeze – Can be fatal if swallowed. This common household item is particularly dangerous because it has an attractive smell and taste to pets, and is readily accessible to them if spills are not cleaned thoroughly.
- Hydrocarbons – These products include gasoline, kerosene, motor oil, lighter fluid, and lamp oils. They are not only a choke hazard, but pose a risk to the lungs when ingested. Another leading cause of poisoning death in children.