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Look around your house and notice what you might have stored. Paint, solvents or rat
poison in the basement? Cleansers such as ammonia, bleach and spot removers in the
kitchen, bath or laundry? Oils, gasoline, anti-freeze or an old battery in the garage?
Slug bait, no-pest strips or weed killer in the shed? These toxic materials are not only
in your own home, but also in your neighbors' and in homes up and down the road. Together,
they present a serious public health and safety concern. It is everyone's responsibility
to handle and dispose of hazardous materials in a safe manner.
- Always try to use nontoxic products instead of hazardous chemicals for cleaning. A list
of alternative products is at the back of this guide.
- Use biodegradable and no-phosphate products whenever possible.
- Be certain that all containers are clearly marked.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Warning labels will advise you if the
product becomes more hazardous when mixed with another substance.
- Use only enough of the product to get the job done.
- Store hazardous products in an area that will never be flooded.
- Sweep your driveway. Built-up toxics and heavy metals will wash into surface
waters if you hose it.
- When washing vehicles, use soap sparingly and rinse on gravel, lawn or other absorbent
ground to filter detergents and oils. Automotive wastes are major sources of pollution.
- Avoid using hazardous chemicals outdoors during rainy periods.
- Never dump hazardous products down drains or the toilet. Septic systems are not
designed to handle chemicals.
- Never dump hazardous products near flowing water, ponds or lakes. Do not dump
them on the ground, as they will wash into surface or ground water when it rains.
- Wrap empty containers securely in several layers of newspaper and place in trash cans.
- Allow the moisture in small quantities of latex paint to evaporate and put the remaining
waste in your trash. Larger amounts can be recycled through your local center. Paint
thinner can be stored in covered containers and reused once the paint has settled out.
Recycle! Call 1-800-RECYCLE for your local center or for advice about what can
For information and help: If you have any questions about the proper use or
disposal of a hazardous product, call the Hazardous Substance Information Hotline,
1-800-633-7585 or your County Health Department.
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Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.htm