What is a Hazardous Material?
By law, a hazardous material is "any product that corrodes other materials, explodes or is easily ignited, reacts strongly with water, is unstable when exposed to heat or shock, or is otherwise toxic to humans, animals or the environment." Hazardous materials can include: explosives, flammable gases and liquids, poisons and poisonous gases, corrosives and caustics, nonflammable gases, oxidizers, waterreactive materials and radioactive materials.
What are Common Hazardous Materials?
- Bleach (liquid, powdered cleanser, etc.) - reactive and can form toxic vapors when mixed with other cleaners, especially ammonia or any acid, including vinegar. Irritant to eyes and mucous membranes. Corrosive.
- Ammonia (liquid, glass cleaner, etc) - reacts with acids (such as vinegar) to form a flammable vapor. Skin, eyes, nose and throat irritant. Corrosive.
- Oven cleaner - skin irritant, inhalation hazard, caustic substance.
- Laundry detergent - harmful if swallowed. Mild to severe irritant to skin and eyes.
- Aerosols - container may explode if heated. Contents may be highly flammable, irritants corrosives, toxins or poisons.
- Hair spray (pump or aerosol) - most contain alcohol, which is flammable. Aerosol types have inherent propellant flammability.
- Nail polish and remover - flammable.
- Perfume/cologne - flammable.
Garage or Garden Shed Products:
- Paints, varnish, paint thinner - flammable.
- Gasoline - flammable and irritant.
- Diesel - combustible and suspected carcinogen.
- Pesticides, herbicides - poison.
- Lighter fluid - flammable.
- Fertilizer- poison, caustic, oxidizer. Explosive with hydrocarbons (i.e. diesel).
- Propane tanks - flammable gas. Exposure to heat may cause venting or vapor ignition.
- Oily rags - spontaneously combust when stored in anything other than airtight containers.
While the United States has laws governing the safe handling, transport and disposal of hazardous materials, accidents can and do occur throughout the country on a regular basis.
For more information on hazardous household products and effective alternatives, call your local fire department. Always call before disposing of possible hazardous material. Please remember to dispose of hazardous material properly!