Chemicals in the home

Chemicals are a part of our everyday lives. Some are naturally occurring, others are manufactured. The risk each chemical poses to the environment and human health varies, and there are many things you can do to avoid or reduce these risks.

plastic chemical bottles

In most cases, it is possible to

  • reduce overall use of chemicals
  • switch to products that are less hazardous

 

Sometimes there is no alternative to using hazardous chemicals. In these situations it is important to know what preventative steps to take to minimise harmful exposure. 

This page provides links to that provide information on using chemical-based products safely and responsibly.

Note that the EPA does not endorse in any way, or make any representations in relation to, any information, products or companies named or listed in the following websites or publications. You should make your own inquiries.

Domestic products containing chemicals include

  • paints and varnishes
  • cleaning agents (such as detergents)
  • cosmetics and hygiene products
  • weed killers, insecticides and baits
  • wood, pool and pet treatments

There are many changes you can make in your everyday life to avoid health and environmental risks.

  • Safer Solutions website: actions you can take to keep your family safe and healthy.
  • Household chemical safety: Tips for safe chemical storage and use from Fire and Rescue NSW.
  • Prevention of poisoning: Things to be aware of with regard to household chemicals and medications and how to minimise the risk of poisoning.
  • Organic alternatives to commercial cleaning products, (most of which are already in your pantry) plus tips for how to choose safer products.
  • Hazardous household waste: Details for the Household Chemical CleanOut program including dates, venues, what materials can be collected, and tips on how to transport the chemicals safely.
  • Pest control

  • Using pesticides: Things you should know about using pesticides and how they are regulated by the EPA.
  • Controlling pests around the home: The US Environmental Protection Agency’s domestic pest control ‘dos and don'ts’ for parents and teachers.
  • Organic Pest Control in the Garden: The ZeroWaste SA guide to safe, effective and thrifty solutions to garden problems.

When renovating your home, you can choose safer and more sustainable products for new work. You may encounter older building materials such as asbestos and lead paints, which can be harmful to your health. Taking precautions will help lower the risk of exposure. 

  • Building and industry hazards: The NSW Health portal provides information on environmental health issues including home renovation, chemicals and asbestos.
  • Asbestos in the home: Information about how to find and manage asbestos in and around the home.
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