Potential Hazards in Your Home
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SUBJECT AREAS: science, home economics
CONCEPT: Many products we use in our homes consist of hazardous chemicals, but less hazardous alternatives do exist.
OBJECTIVE: To increase awareness of how many hazardous chemicals we come into contact with.
- 3 to 5 household cleansers, pesticides, disinfectants, or deodorizers
- telephone
- handouts: Pre-test/Post-test, List of Products, Table 1, Table 2
KEYWORDS: carcinogen, hazardous chemical
BACKGROUND: We tend to assume that our homes are safe places. Are they really safe? In a household or school investigation, find out what types of cleansers, pesticides, disinfectants, and deodorizers are used. NOTE: Some hazardous chemicals present an acute danger only (if used properly, they present little risk). Others such as carcinogens cause chronic risk, and even short exposures may cause a problem over time.
1. Do pre-test.
2. Find 3 to 5 substances that you suspect might have harmful effects. Good places to look would be in the medicine chest, under the kitchen sink, or in the garage or basement.
3. Read the labels on each product and call the information number if one is available (NOTE: If it is not a toll-free number, ask for permission.) Get as much information about the product as available.
4. For each product, list the ingredients, potential health effects, and possible substitutions.
5. Check Table 1 to see if there are harmful effects from the listed ingredients.
6. Check Table 2 for a less harmful substitution that you could use.
7. Do the post-test to determine whether knowledge and attitudes have changed as a result of these investigations.
Answers to Pre-test/Post-test:
1-F, 2-F, 3-F, 4-T, 5-F, 6-F, 7-T, 8-F
Explore types of substitutions that can be used in homes and schools to make the environment safer.
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