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Safer Alternatives to Chemical Products

Friday, November 9, 2018

By: Heather Knapp

 Many products contain harmful ingredients that are dangerous to the environment and us. These products can be used for cleaning, personal, outdoors, or for other uses. We have to be aware to avoid contact with certain chemicals, and have to be careful to keep these products out of reach of children and anyone else who doesn’t know how to use them safely.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a program called Safer Choice. Safer Choice labels mark products that have “safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality of performance” (EPA, 2017). This means these products work just as good as their more chemically harmful versions. Safer Choice created a list of criteria, that are protective, and addresses potentially harmful substances. Products that meet these standards get the EPA’s Safer Choice label, as shown below.



Safer Choice label                          Safer Choice Label for                    Safer Choice Label for 

Business of industrial/ fragrance free products    

Institutional products  

When looking for safer products, always look for warning labels! If it says somewhere on the bottle not to get this on your skin, eyes, or mouth, it’s more than likely not safe, especially around small children. Follow the warning labels closely if you choose to use chemical products.

Follow this link to the EPA’s Safer Choice website to use an interactive map to help you find safer alternatives to products you may use, in your home, school, workplace, or for sports:

If you have some of these products with dangerous chemicals in them, follow these steps from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2015) to prevent poisoning.

·         Always read labels before using a product that may be poisonous

·         Keep chemical products in their original bottles or containers

·         Never mix chemical products, Example: mixing bleach and ammonia can produce toxic gases.

·         Wear protective clothing when spraying pesticides or other chemicals

·         Store chemical products up high and out of sight where children can’t reach them

·         Be prepared and stay calm if poisoning happens. Post the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, by every phone, and save the contact number in your mobile phone.

Check out the CDC’s website for more information on preventing chemical and drug poisoning:

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Elkhorn Logan Valley
Public Health Department
2104 21st Circle / PO Box 779, Wisner, NE 68791
Phone: 402.529.2233  - or -  877.379.4400
Fax: 402.529.2211
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