What's hazardous in my home?

Many consumer products contain toxic chemicals that make them hazardous — even items from your local grocery or hardware store. Handling them safely will protect your family and the environment. In many cases there are less-toxic alternatives you can use.

Common household hazards

If you have hazardous products in and around your home, keep them secure, properly labeled, and out of reach of children and pets. You should handle these types of products carefully and dispose of them safely:

  • Home repair - Adhesives, oil-based paint, thinner, epoxy, paint stripper
  • Cleaners - Oven cleaners, deck cleaners, degreasers, toilet cleaners
  • Pesticides and fertilizers - Wood preservatives, mole killer, herbicides, pesticides
  • Auto and boat equipment - Batteries, paint, gasoline, oil, antifreeze, solvents
  • Hobbies and recreation - Pool chemicals, glaze, paint, white gas
  • Electronics -  Fluorescent lightbulbs, computer monitors, TVs
  • Miscellaneous - Ammunition, fireworks, asbestos, mercury thermometers and thermostats

Never dump hazardous products down the drain, sink, toilet, or outdoor storm drain! Local wastewater treatment facilities can filter debris and treat human waste — not toxic chemicals.

Choose safer products

EPA has a product certification program called Safer Choice. Products with this label use the safest ingredients, and are just as effective as their more-toxic competitors. Look for products with the Safer Choice label at your favorite store, or search EPA's website for products like:

  • All-purpose cleaners
  • Appliance cleaners
  • Bathroom cleaners
  • Car cleaners
  • Degreasers
  • Dish soap
  • Floor care
  • Furniture cleaners
  • Glass & surface cleaners
  • Hand soaps
  • Laundry products
  • Pet care
  • Wood cleaners

Washington's toxics in products laws

Ecology has laws that regulate toxic chemicals in certain products, including products for children. We test products to ensure manufacturers comply with our laws—search our product testing database for results

Household hazards and disasters

Floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and powerful storms can take your safely-stored hazardous products and spread them around your home and community. Prepare your home in terms of toxic chemicals by:

  1. Knowing what hazardous products are in you home. Look for products labeled "caution," "warning," "poison," or "danger."
  2. Clearing out unneeded hazardous products. Take whatever you don't need to a household hazardous waste disposal site. Recycle old electronics.
  3. Storing hazardous products properly. Keep hazardous products in a tray, tub or caddy. Make sure containers have the original label (tape it down if it comes loose).

The Hazardous Substance Information and Education Office is funded in partnership with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries by the Worker and Community Right-to-Know Fund.