Types of Poisons
in the Home...

As consumers, we buy more than a quarter of a million different potentially hazardous household products.

 These materials used in and around the home for medication, cleaning, cosmetic purposes, and killing insects and weeds.



Medicine can help us to get well when we are sick.  However, medicine needs to be taken by the right person, in the right amount, and in the right way.  Ingesting the wrong medicine or too much medicine could make you really sick, it could even cause death.  Many households have over-the-counter medicines like vitamins, herbals, pain relievers, and creams.  Prescription drugs should be taken under a physician’s guidance.  All medicines come with directions.  Read and follow the directions that say how much to take, when to take it, and things to avoid (like driving, certain foods, other medications, etc).   



Cleaning Products  

Cleaning products make cleaning the house easier.  
They often smell good and have attractive packaging.  However, these products are poisonous if inhaled, ingested, or splashed on the skin or in the eyes.  Some products can make deadly combinations when used together.  For example, mixing chlorine and ammonia makes a deadly gas.  Always keep household cleaners in their original containers.  Containers should be clearly labeled.  Read all directions and warnings BEFORE using a product.  Never store leftover cleaning products in food containers like a used water bottle or a plastic container. 



Health & Beauty Products

Health and beauty products are designed to make us look better, smell better and feel better, but they too can be poisonous.  Cosmetics and other personal care items range in toxicity.  Some have little to no effect on the body like lipstick while others are a clear danger like perfumes.  Perfumes, aftershaves, colognes and mouthwash all contain alcohol.  Alcohol is not meant to be ingested by children.  It can cause serious illness and even death.  These products should be kept out of the reach of children.   



Outdoor Items

Plants are pretty.  They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.  Children are especially attracted to plants that smell good, look colorful, have berries, and are within easy reach.  While most plants are harmless to humans, poisonous plants are commonly found in our homes, gardens, and public areas.  Plants poison people in two ways – contact with the skin and contact with the mouth including swallowing.  Reactions range from mild skin irritation to much more serious effects.  It is common that one part of a plant is poisonous while other parts are not.  Poisonous mushrooms are very difficult to identify.  Even the experts make mistakes.  Never eat mushrooms found in or on the ground.  Only eat the type found in the grocery store.



Many people use bug killers, weed killers, lawn fertilizers, and other pesticides and insecticides to keep their trees, shrubs and lawns healthy and insect-free.   These products are poisonous and can be particularly dangerous.  Read the directions on the label carefully BEFORE using the product and follow safety instructions, every time you use the product.   Wear protective clothing such as gloves, goggles, masks, and long sleeves/pants.  Wash hands after contact with pesticides.  Do not apply pesticides on a windy day.  Keep all fertilizers and pesticides in their original containers under lock and key.  Be careful not to spray children’s toys, play gyms, sandboxes, bikes, or pet food dishes when applying pesticides.  



Garage Items

Fluids for the car, home improvement products, and chemicals help to keep our homes and cars looking and running well.  However, dangerous poisons can be found in the garage or other storage areas like sheds, basements, and closets.  These products can be harmful and even fatal if swallowed, inhaled, or splashed on the skin or in the eye.  For example, windshield washer fluid can cause blindness and possible death in small amounts.  When inhaled, many of these products can have toxic effects on the body.  Store automotive and household products in a locked area.  Keep chemicals in their original containers and read directions BEFORE using the product.  Never keep leftover chemicals in water bottles, coffee cans, and other food containers.  Follow the safety precautions on the container.