Household Items - Harmful Chemicals

Any household product is likely to contain some types of chemicals that can be harmful. This is due to nearly all chemicals being used in the house containing acids or alkalis. This is an area toxicologists are particularly interested in, as the home is a place in which dangerous items are often left in places where children can get their hands on them. Whether it is through swallowing or mere body contact, some of the chemicals used in the household can be very dangerous. If, for example, bleach comes into contact with skin, then you should immediately clean it with warm water to ensure an irritation or rash does not develop.

Dangerous household items

Potentially dangerous items in the household include:

  • Bleach
  • Disinfectant
  • Oven cleaner
  • Wood and metal polishes
  • Insect sprays
  • Motor oil and anti-freeze
  • Paint removers
  • Herbicides
  • Batteries
  • Deodorant
  • Hairspray
  • Shampoo

You may be surprised to see items such as shampoo on the list, which are supposed to come into contact with skin and hair, but if such products are drank then this cause a poisonous response. There are many other household products containing dangerous chemicals that are not included on this list.


If a person has consumed or skin has come into contact with a dangerous household chemical, then the symptoms will likely include a sensation of nausea, sickness, possible signs of irritation around the mouth and a distinctive smelly breath if the substance has been drank, irritation on the skin and possible later health affects. Even if such symptoms are not shown and you have consumed a dangerous chemical, then you should seek immediate medical attention. The harmful affects may not be apparent immediately, but can be just as problematic later on.

Read the label

Household chemicals should always have a label describing what substances they contain. There will also typically be a health warning, describing whether the product may be irritable or dangerous when in contact with human skin or consumed. You should always ensure that you handle such products with care, and that they are kept safely out of reach of any children. However, the label will usually only tell you so much. They are unlikely to inform you of any chronic or delayed health affects, such as cancer. Therefore, you should always treat any household chemicals you use with utmost care, and that children are given supervision when doing so.