Hazardous Household Products

 

Product type Possible ingredients Potential hazards
Air freshener and deodorizer Formaldehyde Toxic; carcinogen; irritant to eyes, nose, throat, and skin; may cause nausea, headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, memory loss, and shortness of breath.
Bleach Sodium hypochlorite Corrosive, irritates or burns skin, eyes, respiratory tract; may cause pulmonary edema or vomiting and coma if ingested; contact with other chemicals may cause chlorine fumes.
Disinfectant Sodium hypochlorite Corrosive; irritates or burns skin, eyes; may cause pulmonary edema or vomiting and coma if ingested.
Phenols Flammable; very toxic; respiratory, circulatory, or cardiac damage.
Ammonia Vapor irritating to eyes, respiratory tract, and skin; possible chronic irritation.
Drain Cleaner Sodium or potassium hydroxide (lye) Caustic; irritant; inhibits reflexes; burns to skin, eyes; poisonous if swallowed due to severe tissue damage.
Hydrochloric acid Corrosive; irritant; damage to kidney, liver, and digestive system.
Trichloroethane Irritant to nose and eyes; central nervous system depression; liver and kidney damage if ingested.
Flea powder Carbaryl Very toxic; interferes with human nervous system; may cause skin, respiratory system, cardiovascular system damage.
Dichlorophene Skin irritation; may damage liver, kidney, spleen, and central nervous system.
Chlordane and other chlorinated hydrocarbons Very slow biodegradation; accumulates in food chain; may damage eyes, lungs, liver, kidneys, and skin.
Floor cleaner wax Diethylene glycol Toxic; causes central nervous system depression and kidney, liver lesions.
Petroleum solvents Highly flammable; associated with skin and lung cancer; irritant to skin, eyes, nose, throat, lungs.
Ammonia Vapor irritation to eyes, respiratory tract, and skin; possible chronic irritation.
Furniture polish Petroleum distillates or mineral spirits Highly flammable; moderately toxic; associated with skin and lung cancer; irritant to skin, eyes, nose, throat, lungs; entry into lungs may cause pulmonary edema.
Oven cleaner Sodium or potassium hydroxide (lye) Caustic; irritant; inhibits reflexes; burns to skin, eyes; poisonous if swallowed due to severe tissue damage.
Paint thinner Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons Slow decomposition; liver and kidney damage.
Esters Toxicity varies with specific chemical; causes eye, nose, and throat irritation and anesthesia.
Alcohols Volatile and flammable; eye, nose, and throat irritation.
Chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons Flammable; toxic; accumulate in food chain.
Ketones Flammable; toxicity varies with specific chemical; may cause respiratory ailments.
Paint Aromatic hydrocarbon thinners Flammable; skin irritant; benzene is a carcinogen; possible liver and kidney damage.
Mineral spirits Highly flammable; skin, eye, nose, throat, lung irritant; very high air concentrations may cause unconsciousness, death.
Spot remover Perchlorethylene or trichloroethane Slow decomposition; liver and kidney damage; perchlorethylene is suspected carcinogen.
Ammonium hydroxide Corrosive; vapor extremely irritable to skin, eyes, and respiratory passages; ingestion causes tissue burns.
Sodium hypochlorite Corrosive; irritates skin, eyes, respiratory tract; may cause pulmonary edema and skin burns.
Toilet bowl cleaner Sodium acid sulfate or oxalate or hypochloric acid Corrosive; burns from skin contact or inhalation; ingestion may be fatal.
Chlorinated phenols Flammable; very toxic; respiratory, circulatory, or cardiac damage.
Window cleaner Diethylene glycol Toxic; causes central nervous system depression and degenerative lesions in liver and kidneys.
Ammonia Vapor irritating to eyes, respiratory tract, and skin; possible chronic irritation.
Wood stain/varnish Mineral spirits, gasoline Highly flammable; associated with skin and lung cancer; irritant to skin, eyes, nose, throat, lungs; entry into lungs may cause fatal pulmonary edema.
Methyl and ethyl alcohol Flammable; damage to eyes, skin, central nervous system.
Benzene Flammable; carcinogen; accumulates in fat, bone marrow, liver tissues.
Lead Damage to digestive, genitourinary, neuro-muscular and central nervous system; anemia and brain damage.
Antifreeze Ethylene glycol Very toxic, 3 ounces can be fatal to adult; damage to cardiovascular system, blood, skin, and kidneys.
Methanol Moderately toxic; ingestion may cause coma, respiratory damage.
Car wax, polish Petroleum distillates Associated with and lung cancer; irritant to skin, eyes, nose, lungs; entry into lungs may cause fatal pulmonary edema.
Motor oil/gasoline Petroleum hydrocarbons (benzene) Highly flammable; associated with skin and lung cancer; irritant to skin, eyes, nose, throat, lungs; pulmonary edema; benzene is a carcinogen.
Lead Damage to digestive, genitourinary, neuro-muscular, and central nervous system; anemia and brain damage.

Chart by Dr. Frances C. Graham, Extension Housing Specialist Mississippi State University

Written by Dr. Frances C. Graham, Extension Housing Specialist Mississippi State University