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This version of SharkBytes has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of SharkBytes, visit sharkbytes.nova.edu.

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Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

nova.edu/prmc

SharkBytes Archives

Contact

Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

(954) 262-5353
(800) 541-6682 x25353
Fax: (954) 262-3954
communications@nova.edu

Prevent Poisonings in Your Home

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Every 13 seconds, U.S. Poison Control Centers receive a call about someone being exposed to a poison. Forty percent of those cases involve a child under three years of age. According to the American Association of Poison Centers, more than 50 percent of over two million exposure incidents each year involve children under six years of age. What’s more, poison center data reported over 70,000 calls made to poison centers with concerns about exposure to common household pesticides. These figures show the need for everyone to lock up pesticides and household chemicals out of children’s reach – preferably in a high cabinet.

EPA observes National Poison Prevention Week each year to increase awareness of the danger to children of poisonings from pesticides and household products.

What chemical-containing products are in your home?

Household products should be kept in a locked cabinet and out of children’s reach. Common products that could seriously harm a child if ingested include:

  • bath and kitchen disinfectants and sanitizers, including bleach
  • household cleaning or maintenance products, such as drain cleaner, paints, or glues
  • automotive products stored around the home, such as anti-freeze or windshield washer fluid
  • health or beauty care products such as medicines, hair and nail products
  • roach sprays and baits
  • insect repellents
  • rat and other rodent poisons
  • weed killers
  • products used to kill mold or mildew
  • flea and tick shampoos, powders, and dips for pets
  • swimming pool chemicals

What can you do to prevent poisonings?

Poisoning incidents can be prevented if parents and caregivers remember to lock up products that could potentially harm children. Yet, an EPA study found that among households with children under the age of five, nearly half stored pesticides in an unlocked cabinet, within reach of children. Poisoning incidents are preventable.

Simple steps you can take to prevent poisonings from occurring in your home:

The Label Is The Law

read the label logo

  • Pesticide labels provide instructions about proper handling, use, and application rates of the product, and precautions to protect people and the environment.
  • Label directions are derived from scientific testing by manufacturers and evaluation by EPA scientists to ensure that products can be used with minimal risk to people and the environment.
  • READ THE LABEL FIRST!
  • Learn more about what’s on a product label.
  • Always store household products in a locked cabinet or garden shed away from both your children’s and pet’s reach.
  • Read the product label first and follow the directions to the letter.
  • Use the safest possible cleaning products.  Look for the Design for the Environment (DfE) label on products.
  • Never leave products unattended when you are using them.
  • Re-close products if interrupted during application (e.g., phone call, doorbell, etc.).
  • Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container tightly after use.
  • Never transfer pesticides to other containers; children may associate certain containers with food or drink.
  • Remove children, pets, and toys before applying pesticides (inside or outside the home). Follow label directions to determine when children and pets can re-enter the area that has been treated.
  • Never use illegal pesticides (e.g., Tres Pasitos, unregistered Insecticidal Chalk, or Tempo). These products have not been reviewed by EPA and their use may pose a danger to public health. Always look for an EPA Registration ID number on the label. (Example: EPA Reg. No. 500-123456)
  • Post the Poison Control Centers’ national hotline number, 1-800-222-1222, near your phone. Program the number into your phone’s “address book” or redial feature.

Poison prevention resources

To raise awareness of how to prevent poisonings and exposures to household cleaners and pesticides, EPA has the following free poison prevention resources available:

Protect your children

Protect farm worker families

  • Aunque Cerca Sano (Living Healthy Close to the Fields) is a booklet that educates farm worker on steps they can take to protect their families from pesticide exposures. To order copies call (703) 305-5017.

Educate your local community

  • Poison Prevention: Read the Label First! is a community action kit that includes training materials for communities to use to heighten awareness about preventable poisonings caused by improper use and storage of household products. To order a kit, call 703-305-5017.
  • Free audio public service announcemnts (PSA), produced in spanish (español), on cockroaches and other pests, illegal pesticides and storing pesticides safely, are available. (Transcripts in english/español, audio in español)
  • Lock It Up poster (PDF) (1 pg, 110 KB, About PDF) urges parents and caregivers to lock household products away from children. Call to order copies from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) at 1-800-490-9198.

Don’t buy illegal pesticides

  • Protect Your Family: Know the Dangers of Illegal Pesticides is a brochure that alerts parents to the dangers of illegal pesticides. Available in English, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish. To order copies, contact Vivian Conte (conte.vivian@epa.gov) at 732- 321-6770.
  • Illegal Pesticide Products such as mothballs, insecticidal chalk, pet products, and antibacterial products may be sold on the street or in small neighborhood stores.
    • En español: Los productos pesticidas ilegales, tales como naftalina, tiza insecticida, productos para mascotas y productos antibacterianos pueden aparecer a la venta en la calle o en pequeños almacenes del barrio.

Read household product labels

Store household products safely

  • Safe Storage and Disposal Web site contains information on proper storage and disposal of household products.
  • Lock It Up poster (PDF) (1 pg, 110 KB, About PDF) urges parents and caregivers to lock household products away from children. Call to order copies from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) at 1-800-490-9198.

Check your home to prevent poisonings

For more information on Poison Prevention Week, visit Poisonprevention.org.