What are Poisons Commonly Found in the Home?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2018
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In most homes, there are numerous cleaning products that are extremely poisonous and can kill if taken into the body’s system. Window cleaner, bleach, bug spray and detergents all contain harmful chemicals. Those in these detergents are lethal, especially to children. More children under the age of four have been killed by poisoning in the home than by any other cause.

Many toxic poisons can be found in the home, and they do not have to be swallowed to be harmful. Chemicals from many household cleaners can be absorbed by the skin. You can also breathe in the fumes given out by household cleaners. If the lids are left off, some chemicals can release unseen gasses that can be inhaled.

Many of these chemicals are noticed immediately if they are absorbed into the body. Many others work gradually. If you have a cold or illness, then the body’s immune system will not work as effectively. Your tolerance to household toxins will be weaker than if you were at full health.

One of the biggest poisons present in the home is cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke releases around 4,000 different chemicals into the air. Inhaling second-hand smoke is even more harmful than smoking oneself. If more than one person smokes in the house, then the amount of chemicals in the air can be doubled or tripled.


The three main types of toxins found in household products are ammonia, chlorine and phenol. Ammonia can cause rashes and burning to the skin, and the fumes can cause damage to the lungs. Chlorine irritates the skin and is dangerous when inhaled. Phenol has been linked to cancer and is extremely poisonous. A small amount swallowed can cause convulsions, coma or even death.

Most detergents, household cleaners and disinfectants contain one or a combination of the three poisons mentioned above. Other household products that contain these substances are perfumes, aftershaves, soaps and toothpaste. Feminine products such as douches also contain these poisons, as do hairsprays and hair styling products. Products that you use to care for your cat, such as flea sprays and shampoos, also contain harmful materials.

There are companies that sell toxin-free products. By simply switching to these, you can make your home and the environment safer. Doing so will also help prevent any unpleasant accidents in the home in the future.


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Discuss this Article

Post 8

I have tried some of the non-toxic cleaning products but feel like they don't clean as well as what I had been using before.

I switched to a bleach that didn't contain chlorine, but my white clothes all started to look yellow. I would love to use products that don't have poisons in them, but get frustrated if they don't work very well.

Post 7

The first time I realized that many of the cleaning products were poisonous was when a friend got sick from breathing the fumes of an oven cleaner. I always knew to keep certain cleaning products away from kids, but was surprised at how badly she reacted to this cleaner.

Post 6
I have been using biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning and personal care products in my home for over 20 years. I buy these from a company that I know and trust. They were encouraging people to use products like this long before being green was common.

When my kids were growing up I didn't have to be quite so concerned about them getting poisoned from the products I had under my sink. I also know when these products go down the drain they are not contaminating the environment either.

I do agree that it isn't as convenient as going to the store and buying what is on the shelf. I feel like the extra effort has been worth it for myself and my family.

The cleaning products are very concentrated and they last a long time. You have to add a little water to them, but one bottle will last me a very long time.

Post 5

After reading about all the common poisons found in homes, I am left wondering what I have around the house that does not contain poison. I don't think a lot of people think about the poisons that are in their perfume and personal care products.

Think about all the hand sanitizers both adults and kids use all the time. There are probably poisons in them too. I know there are other alternatives out there, but many times they are more expensive and not as easy to find.

Post 3

@ Valencia - it's strange that so much attention is given to the dangers of second hand cigarette smoke. Yet the same people may be slack about controlling access to household poisons!

To be fair though, I would never have thought of toothpaste in this way. I bet lots of people lock away bleach and cleaning products but never give a thought to things which taste good.

Post 2

@comfyshoes - that's a good point. It's all too easy to forget that children are constantly figuring things out by watching what we do. In this case they may well not fully understand what is going on.

I hate to visit homes where potentially dangerous products are not placed firmly out of sight and reach of youngsters. It may make our lives a little more inconvenient but I can live with that.

Post 1

Excellent article- I want to add that mouthwash can also be dangerous to children because of the high alcohol content.

The child who sees an adult putting the liquid in their mouth may not understand that it is meant for gargling and not swallowing.

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