Cleaning products and practices that can be dangerous for your family

It's time for spring cleaning, but before you break out the glass cleaner and bleach, there are things you need to know about these and other products that can present dangers to your family.

Certain products, when mixed together, can create dangerous fumes. For instance, mixing bleach with vinegar or ammonia creates chlorine gas. It's a chemical agent that was used as a weapon in World War I. Mixing any products that contain chlorine and ammonia for that matter is hazardous.

Also, combining different brands of the same type of product can create a violent reaction.

Products can be hazardous if they are ignitable, corrosive, explosive, toxic, or radioactive. Many chemicals in cleaning agents can enter your body through ingestion, inhalation or absorption.

Some products that have that potential to be hazardous include drain cleaners, toilet cleaners, furniture polishes, window cleaner, oven cleaners and, of course, bleach.

It's also important to understand the labeling on products. Danger means a taste to a teaspoon full of the product can be fatal. Warning means a teaspoon to an ounce (two teaspoons) can be fatal. Caution means an ounce or more can be fatal.

When cleaning with hazardous products, always wear the appropriate protective gear. This could include rubber gloves, a face mask, eye wear or even a protective suit. Most products will specify what type of protection is needed when using them.

If you suspect that you or someone else is suffering from a reaction to a chemical or cleaning product, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, burning eyes, irritated skin or mucous membranes.

All the information in this story has been provided by the South Bend Fire Department.

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