Parents: Be Your Own Home Environmental Protection Agency

Why would you want to be your own environmental protection agency? You can’t control toxins outside the home. Inside the home is another matter. Even if you’re not the type to jump on the environmental bandwagon, it pays to clear your home of hazardous chemicals. It’s just too easy for kids to find and ingest harmful cleaning products. Why take a chance, when there are so many effective alternatives to toxic household products?

Check under the kitchen sink. Chances are you have a wide selection of chemicals your kids can get into. Most people store everything from drain cleaner to dish soap under that easily accessible kitchen sink. If you insist on using chemical products, at least invest in a child safe lock. It won’t keep those toxins out of the air. It will keep your child from ingesting them.

What’s in your garage? It’s a hot spot for toxic chemicals. Where do you keep the anti-freeze, oil and other car necessities? How about gas for the lawn mower? Some of these don’t have non-toxic alternatives. How easy would it be for your kids to access them? It only takes a few minutes for a curious toddler to discover and ingest a toxin. Keep your garage locked and items out of their reach.

Some products are deceiving. Did you know perfume is a toxic substance? Many beauty products are. It pays to use all natural alternatives. How about vitamins? Adult doses can be harmful or fatal to children. Keep them locked up with prescription meds. Even some over the counter medicinal products are toxic. While you’re doing your home EPA inspection, why not get rid of those expired meds too?

What’s better than locking up toxic products? Why not get rid of them altogether? There are non-toxic alternatives to most hazardous household chemicals. What’s more, they’re probably already in your kitchen cupboards. You don’t have to spend money on high dollar environmentally sound products when a little vinegar and baking soda can clean your home just as well.

Non-toxic alternatives for common household products:

*Drain Cleaner – 1 cup baking soda, followed by 1 cup vinegar – rinse down with hot water

*Window Cleaner – 1/4 cup vinegar in a gallon of water

*Scouring Powder – 2 cups baking powder, 2 cups salt, 1 tsp. cream of tarter

*Citrus Cleaner – Steep the peel of an orange in a quart of vinegar for two weeks. Remove the peel. Mix solution with one quart water. Place in spray bottle. Use for greasy clean-ups.

*Wood Floor Cleaner – Mix the juice of one lemon and 1/4 cup vegetable oil with one gallon of water.

*Furniture Polish – Mix 1 cup olive oil with 1 tsp. lemon juice

What do I do with the discards? Use caution when disposing of toxic products. Dumping them down the drain or tossing them in the trash can cause environmentally hazardous waste. Contact your local waste management company to comply with waste disposal regulations. The EPA also has a detailed website that can answer all your questions.

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