April 23, 2007
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
Poison Control Center Provides Tips for Safer Spring Cleaning
NEWARK — As warmer weather and longer days prompt “spring cleaning” rituals in many homes, the executive director of UMDNJ’s New Jersey Poison Information and Education System is reminding residents that some products that make spring cleaning easier can also pose serious health hazards.
“Commercial cleaning products, including furniture polish, ammonia, and oven and window cleaner can be hazardous if ingested, inhaled or sprayed in the eyes,” said Dr. Steven Marcus, executive director of NJPIES and a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School. “Keep in mind, too, that child-resistant containers are not necessarily childproof. It’s still possible for young children to get into these hazardous products.”
For safer spring cleaning, NJPIES offers these tips:
· Keep windows open when cleaning indoors. This provides plenty of fresh air and will also move strong odors from cleaning products out of the house.
· Don’t mix cleaning products. Mixing these chemicals can produce toxic results. Always read warning labels and use cleaning products only as directed.
· Try to clean only when children and pets are not present. Keep all cleaning products out of the reach of children. If you have to stop cleaning to go to another part of the house, take children and pets with you. Children and pets are often attracted to the sweet smells that some cleaners have.
NJPIES also suggests substituting these safer substances for chemical cleaners:
· Equal parts of vinegar and water form a solution that can clean mirrors, windows, and glass.
· Baking soda can be used as a cleanser on most surfaces. Sprinkle it on carpets as a deodorizer and pour one-half cup into drains to keep them running clear.
· Cornstarch can also deodorize rugs and carpets. Apply it to wood furniture with a soft cloth to remove excess furniture polish.
· Ketchup will remove tarnish from copper utensils.
· Lemon juice cuts grease and stains on aluminum and porcelain.
· A small dab of olive or vegetable oil on a soft cloth will polish furniture.
The Poison Control Center Hotline, 1-800-222-1222, is available 24 hours a day for treatment advice for emergency poisonings as well as for non-emergency questions regarding medications, household products, plants or environmental contaminants.
To request an interview with Dr. Marcus, please contact Jerry Carey, UMDNJ News Service, at (856) 566-6171 or (973) 972-3000.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,700 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.