Household Chemical Emergency


Nearly every household product contains hazardous materials or chemicals. Review these safety tips, and then visit our Examples of Household Chemicals. You may be surprised at what you have in your home that needs safe handling.

Protective measures for buying and storing household products safely:

  • Buy only as much of a chemical as you think you will use.
  • Keep product in their original containers and never remove products from their original container unless the container is corroding. If the container is corroding, repackage the product and clearly label the container.
  • Never store hazardous products in food containers.
  • Never mix household hazardous materials or hazardous waste with other products. Incompatibles such as chlorine bleach and ammonia will react and could ignite or explode.
  • Never mix pool chemicals indoors

Take these precautions to prevent and respond to accidents:

  • Always follow the manufacture’s instructions for proper use of household chemicals.
  • Never smoke while using household chemicals.
  • Never use hairspray, cleaning solutions, paint products, or pesticides near an open flame (e.g., pilot light, lighted candle, fireplace, wood burning stove, etc.) Vapor particles in the air can catch fire and explode even if you cannot see or smell them.
  • If you have a chemical spill contact your local fire department or the Maine Department of Environmental protection (DEP) immediately. DEP spill number is 800-482-0777.
  • Dispose of hazardous materials correctly. Take household hazardous waste to a local collection program. Check with your county, state environmental, or solid waste agency to learn if there is a household hazardous waste collection program in your area.

Learn to recognize symptoms of toxic poisoning:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irritation of the eyes, skin, throat, or respiratory tract
  • Changes in skin color.
  • Dizziness
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Cramps or diarrhea

Be prepared to seek medical assistance:

  • If it is a life threatening situation call 911 immediately.
  • Post the number of emergency medical services and poison control center.
  • Maine Poison Control number is 800-222-1222.

For More Information

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