b'HouseholdCleanersCorroding containers require special handling. Call your towns board of health or Fire Department for instructions on transporting these safely to a hazardous waste disposal site. Chlorine is such a common ingredient in household cleaners that many people are surprised to learn that it is highly toxic. Chlorine is corrosive and a strong irritant to the lungs and mucous membranes. Chlorine-based cleaning products can also destroy essential bacteria in septic tanks, eventually causing system failures. Chlorine can also combine with other materials present in the home and environment to form new toxic substances. NEVER mix chlorine (or products that contain chlorine) with ammonia products; the resulting chemical reaction creates a poisonous gas that can be fatal. Most soaps and detergents are meant toPhosphates may boost cleaning power but, in bodies be washed down the drain. They are of fresh water, they act as a fertilizer, stimulating biodegradable and, if the wastewater from excessive plant growth. Ultimately this growth reduces your home is properly treated, they pose no oxygen available to support other aquatic life forms.problem to the environment. Other household Laundry detergents are now required to be phosphate- cleaners are a diff erent story. Most drain openers, free. Currently dishwasher detergents are not requiredoven and toilet bowl cleaners, and bleach areto be phosphate-free but some are. As of July 1, 2010, poisonous. Furniture polish and spot removers are automatic dishwashing detergents sold for householdfl ammable, and ammonia-based cleansers and use in Massachusetts are to contain only trace amountsdisinfectants contain strong chemicals whichof phosphates.Until then, read labels and buy onlymay be harmful. phosphate-free detergents. Fluorescent whitening agents, also known as opticalRead the labels of products in your cleaningbrighteners, are ultraviolet dyes contained in manycloset. Do they contain such toxiclaundry detergents that make fabrics seem brighter components as lye, phenols, petroleum and whiter. These brighteners are toxic to fi sh anddistillates, chloride and other aquatic life and are extremely slow to biodegrade. dichlorobenzene? Note Laundry product manufacturers are not required to listalso the words danger,individual ingredients, so choose one that does not boast a warning, toxic, corrosive, fl ammable, or poison. These identifybrightening feature.products that may contain hazardous materials. Use and store these substances carefully. Keep them in their original containers. Do not remove their labels. Never mixDisposalthem with other products.Avoid dumping cleaners or wash water down your drain. Incompatible products mightInstead dilute well with water and toss onto a gravel react, ignite, or explode.driveway or around deep-rooted plants to be absorbed slowly. If you must put it down the drain, fl ush with PLENTY of water. Then start fresh with a nontoxic, inexpensive alternative. For more suggestions on disposal, call the Massachusetts DEP Household Hazardous Products Hotline. Page 30 bluepages.indd 30 8/26/2009 1:50:46 PM'