Compass to chemical safety – Storage rules for chemicals in households
During the coronavirus epidemic, there has been a natural increase in demand for household chemical products for protection, and this was accompanied by a build-up of household stocks. Household chemicals classified as hazardous can be used safely, but only if we follow the instructions on the label and the following storage advice.
First, read the product label and learn about the potential dangers of the product.
The content of the label is always unique and specific to the product, its wording is in compliance with strict legal requirements and is intended to ensure the safety of the user. The label contains all the information you need to know about the hazards of chemicals, safe use, storage and disposal.
Do not store together with foodstuff and keep out of reach of children.
If you have the opportunity, designate at least one separate (lockable) cupboard in your household as a “chemical storage compartment”.
Group chemicals according to their properties and separate them from their environment and from each other.
Do not store liquids above solids to avoid contamination in case of leakage. Place trays under containers of corrosive products to prevent their contents from spilling over a large area in the event of a leak.
Do not overload the shelves.
The general rule is that chemicals should be stored in their original containers, but as a result of stockpiling, consumers have recently tended to prefer larger pack sizes. If it seems unavoidable to transfer a product to a smaller container, then use an empty bottle of the same product for this purpose, if possible. If the original label on the emptied bottle is no longer legible or it has been removed, make a label with the same content as the original product label and stick it on the bottle of the transferred product. The label should include the name of the product, the warnings (phrases “Warning” or “Danger”), the hazard statements describing the nature and severity of the hazard, as well as the precautionary statements.
Never pour the chemical into a container used for the storage of foodstuff or into a container that may be particularly attractive to children.
After use, immediately replace the lid, screw the cap back on and put the product in its place. Your child will find the chemical laying around sooner than you think.
Do not expose chemicals to sunlight, high temperatures or ignition sources.
Ensure adequate ventilation to avoid increased concentration of vapours and gases in case of leakage.
Infrequent use or large accumulations can result in some items being “forgotten” for long periods of time, thus it is necessary to regularly check your stock to make sure there have been no accidental spills or leaks.
Store on low shelves or directly on the floor.
Certain acids should not be stored together with flammable and combustible materials (for the sake of simplicity, consider this a general rule).
Keep acids and alkalis separate in the storage area so that they do not mix in case of accidental spillage.
To prevent spillage, place a tray under the product. If spillage does occur, soak it up with a neutral absorbent (e.g. sand).
Store away from ignition sources (e.g. open flames, heat sources, electrical appliances) and combustible materials.
In all cases, the product label should include the contact details of the supplier. If the information on the label is not sufficient, look up the product’s safety data sheet on the distributor’s website, which contains much more detailed information than the label. However, we note that for household cleaning products and chemical products used by the general public, we do not consider the use of a safety data sheet to be justified (nor is it required by law to be provided to the general public). The data and information provided in the safety data sheet can often lead to incorrect conclusions by lay users.
If you have any questions or in case of uncertainty, contact the distributor by telephone.
FAQ – Frequently asked questions and answers in chemical safety