The Toxic Garage: More Frequent Than You Think

Households are contributing to environmental destruction with every day domestic products from the massive amounts of packaging torn into and thrown away every day.
From: Alex Summers
August 12th, 2014 | 0 Comments

The world is going green, and that’s terrific. Most people can see the logic of anti-pollution campaigns. They understand that cars are harming the environment and that factories poison the water and the air.

Farmers with their massive machinery and their countless acres of land – certainly, it is understandable to assume that runoff water includes heavy amounts of fertilizer that runs into creeks, streams, rivers and municipal water systems. It is also obvious that pesticides from farms collect in the environment. Most folks can see that pretty quickly.

But it is less frequently acknowledged that households are contributing to environmental destruction with every day domestic products from the massive amounts of packaging torn into and thrown away every day.

It is difficult so see oneself as the culprit. It also seems odd to point to an innocent homestead as a cause for environmental concern. How devastating could one family’s contribution to environmental destruction be, anyway?

Nothing sneaks up on us more than household pollution. Isn’t it fair to assume that toilet cleaners that appear in a local supermarket and are bought each day by thousands of people is relatively harmless. But the answer is no.

It is understood that all those bottles that are considered benign go into recycling bins or garbage cans when they are empty – the toxicity of the residue contained in one bottle is barely noticed – after all it is such a small amount. But people frequently forget that the residue from your bottle of toilet cleaner meets up with a smorgasbord of toxins at the landfill and that millions of families are adding small, unhealthy contributions to the environment.

It all ads up and it ads up to lethal concentrations of landfill stew.

Modern landfills have plastic liners to prevent pollution runoff. But isn’t that ironic, using a toxic product to prevent other toxic products from leaching into the water supply. Someday all that plastic will deteriorate and slowly enter the local environment.

What’s in your garage that could haunt you? Lots. Here’s a quick list:

Paint

Herbicides

Pesticides

Paint thinner

Fertilizer

Batteries

Oil

Caulking

Adhesives

Light bulbs with freon

Gasoline

Pool maintenance chemicals

Solvents

Medicines

Products with mercury

Asbestos

Antifreeze

Fireworks

Propane

Smoke detectors

Products (like batteries) with lead

Further, how much harm could there be in a pesticide that sits in the garage without even coming out of the bottle very often?

For one, some old containers in your garage could hold compounds that have long been discontinued because they are unsafe. Many people figure it doesn’t matter as long as that bottle remains hidden from view. Out of sight, out of mind.

How many people organize their garage each year to find 10- or 20-year-old bottles of long-banned pesticides hiding behind the cabinet that houses used lawn mower oil?

It happens.

Certainly, it remains in your best interest to keep up with what’s in your garage and to do that, you need to be organized.

There are many ways to do this. One foolproof method is to hang up tools. Hand tools can be hung on a peg board, while larger items could be given their own set of brackets or their own hook.

Take a look at some garage organizers online. If you’re not surprised at how many toxic chemicals have been hiding in your garage, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much extra room you have with tools hung up, rather then heaped together in a disorderly mess.

Once this is done and the toxic chemicals are unearthed, homeowners need to follow local and state laws to get ride of any toxic material.

Call the town or city office for information on how to move and discard any toxic chemicals. All of this will contribute to your safety and to your peace of mind.