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Kitchen Cleaning- When is it Dangerous

06/01/2009 - The Home Safety Council has found that poisoning is the second leading cause accidental death in the home. Over two million poisonings last year occurred in the home. Yet most families don't take the appropriate precautions to protect themselves from this common hazard.

One area of concern is in the kitchen. It is obviously important to keep cooking and food services clean. But how and when you clean those surfaces is as important as actually cleaning them. Where do you store your kitchen cleaners? Most people keep them under the kitchen sink or on a pantry shelf, near stored foods and drinks. From aerosols to powders, cleaners to soaps to solvents, we are at risk for inhaling or ingesting chemicals not designed to be taken internally.

You just finished preparing your meal and have it sitting on the counter, ready to go to the table. You spill some gravy and you instantly jump into action to clean it up. Out comes the ammonia multi-surface cleaner. As you spray it onto the counter, tiny droplets of aerosol or mist migrates to your green bean casserole. Or worse yet, you miscalculate the direction of the spray with a direct hit.

A wasp has entered the room and your kids go off the wall screaming, frantic, and hoping you will save them from fear of the sting. Out comes the bee killer spray. Any thought to covering your food or open drinks? How about re-cleaning the food-preparation counter top after spraying to get the lethal pesticide off the surface? No, no, the next layer of hamburger will take care of that for you.

Too often we do not realize the hazards associated with these materials. Scouring powders, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, general surface cleaners, bug sprays, and other various solutions are at the ready. But not during mealtime with open food waiting to absorb or accept flavorings.

Children and pets love to poke around places they can reach. My bulldog is always scanning the floor and the nether regions for anything that looks or smells like food. He is not too partial to taste as a guide so if he can get it down, he's happy. Keep poisons in a locked area or at higher elevations to reduce the risk of poisonings. It is scary to think that the leading cause of death for kids up to age 14 is poisoning.

Read and follow the instructions on the product labels. Wear gloves, if advised to do so. This includes degreasing agents that advertise grease removal from dishes they also remove natural oils from your skin and can cause dermatitis (a nasty rash).

Take a minute right now and look at your kitchen. What is stored where? How fast are you on the trigger to use these items? How easily can your children or pets access these items? Fix what you can right now. Don't wait! Keep yourself and your family safe at home.

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