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What Makes a Household Product Hazardous

Read the Label!

Look for the words Danger, Warning or Caution on the product label. Danger is the most hazardous product. Warning or Caution are less hazardous products. Products that don't have any of these words on the label are least hazardous. A hazardous product has at least one of the following properties: toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive.


Toxic materials are either poisonous or cause long-term illness (such as cancer). Pesticides, paint thinners, many auto products and some cleaners are toxic. Look for words on the product label like "Harmful or fatal if swallowed." "Use only in a well-ventilated area" (this means product fumes are toxic).


Flammable materials burn easily. Paint, thinners and other solvents, and auto products are the most flammable home products. Look for words on the product label like: "Do not use near heat or flame." "Combustible." "Do not smoke while using this product."


Eats through materials (acid, for example). Oven cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and auto batteries are common corrosive products. Look for words on the product label like: "Causes severe burns on contact." "Can burn eyes, skin, throat."


These products can explode (when exposed to heat, air, water, or shock). There are few consumer products still on the market that are explosive (except for fireworks). Some older explosive products may still be stored in homes.

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