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submitted by Chris Blan, Brown County Resource Recovery Technician

It’s not uncommon for us to use chemicals in our everyday lives. From cleaning to even car maintenance, chemicals are used. Household chemicals are very common but can pose great dangers if handled, stored and disposed of incorrectly.
When it comes to hazardous materials, the first step is to identify what they are and how they can be dangerous. All it takes is a look at a label to see the manufacturers guidance on how to handle the material or what dangers are present, such as “Hazardous to Human and Domestic Animals.” If there is an accident with a hazardous material, the label can also provide advice on what to do or who to contact.

For poisonous incidents the Wisconsin Poison Center is a great resource. Since 2010, the Poison Center has received more than 425,000 contacts from people due to accidents with poisonous materials. The Poison Center assists in identifying what the poison is, how to treat it and guidance on next steps.

To prevent poison mishaps from happening it is also vitally important to store hazardous materials safely. Again, the label may provide guidance on how to effectively store hazardous materials. Some products can’t be kept in warmer areas or mixed with other types of chemicals, so read up on the chemicals you have to make sure they are all placed where they should be.

Also, make sure any hazardous chemicals are stored in a place that children and animals cannot get to. A locked storage area may be appropriate to prevent anyone from gaining access to them that shouldn’t.

Before putting away any type of chemical, ensure that all lids and caps are secured tightly to prevent any leaks. While taking this step, it is also advised that the containers themselves are positioned in a way that they cannot tip over.

If you notice that some of your chemicals are expired or you no longer need them, the best and safest way to dispose of them is by taking the chemicals and other hazardous materials to the Hazardous Material Recovery (HMR) facility.

The HMR will collect chemicals, electronics, batteries and a variety of other hazardous items to be safely disposed of and is open to residents and businesses. Residents can visit the HMR facility on Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Thursdays from noon to 6:00 p.m. at 2561 S. Broadway.
In the event of a poison related incident, please call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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