Everyday Hazmat: The Inappropriate Mixing of Household Chemicals

BY LOUIS COOKIn 2006, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 214,091 calls associated with household cleaning products, the number 3 category on its list of the top 25 compounds frequently involved in human exposures.1 My unit is frequently called to the scene where civilians have become ill from inappropriately mixing household cleaning chemicals. Many of these responses are not limited to homes; they have been to hotels, schools, and even a local hospital. The literature also contains reports on two separate mass-casualty incidents involving U.S. Army barracks. What is most troubling to me is the perception among the public and even some first responders that househ...

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