Guest Contributor: Adam Rhoads, Lincoln–Lancaster County Health Department Environmental Health Educator
Now is a great time of year to clean out unwanted and potentially hazardous chemicals from your home. Everyday household products, from bathroom cleaners to oil-based paint, can be dangerous to your health and the environment. But did you know some products pose a greater risk than others?
Pesticides: Pesticides are chemicals that discourage or kill pests such as insects and rodents. While effective, they can be toxic to humans. Consider the alternatives:
- Verify: one pest doesn’t mean you have a problem.
- Keep it clean: don’t give pests food, water and shelter.
- Prevent access: seal cracks, holes and other entry points.
- Get physical: use barriers, traps, vacuums and other non-chemical means to remove pests.
- Last resort: use chemicals only if the above strategies fail. Always read and follow label instructions. Consider using a professional agent to apply pesticides.
Mercury: Mercury is a neurotoxin that can harm your health and the environment. It’s found in the home in lighting products, old thermostats and thermometers and elemental mercury. To reduce the risks associated with mercury:
- Look for alternatives like LED lights and alcohol-based thermometers.
- Recycle or properly dispose of mercury.
- Clean mercury spills safely — DO NOT vacuum! For cleanup guidance, see helpful resource “Mercury Spill In Home” at http://lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: household).
Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collections for Lancaster County, Nebraska are listed in the June 2016 NEBLINE Newsletter – Page 4.
Thanks again to Adam for helping us understand the risks from pesticides and mercury products!
If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).
Have a great day!!
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