Hazardous Materials

Hazardous Materials

What Are They ?

The definition of a Hazardous Material from the book, The Chemistry of Hazardous Materials, by Eugene Meyer, states that a substance is considered to be a hazardous material when it is one of the following: "Flammable, Explosive, Corrosive, Toxic, Radioactive, or if it readily decomposes to oxygen at elevated temperatures." Also, by definition, the United States Department of Transportation defines a hazardous substance as a material capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported.

A common sense approach is that a material could be considered hazardous when it escapes its container and hurts or harms the thing it touches. This definition was from a Hazardous Material Response team leader who was realistic as to what Hazardous Materials really are.

The more aware people become of hazardous materials, waste products, and recyclable materials, the more questions arise as to where these materials can be disposed of and recycled.

Cities, towns, and villages have become more concerned with recycling. Paper goods, plastics, yard waste, and glass materials are now commonly being sorted for recycling or composting; however, the disposal of common household hazardous wastes has not been addressed. Corporations must dispose of controlled and hazardous wastes by hiring a waste management firm, yet household wastes are either dumped in the sewer or thrown in the garbage to be dumped at the local landfill, possibly with injurious effects to refuse employees or the environment.

In an effort to reduce the hazards and improve disposal methods the table shown below gives examples on how and where to dispose of common household hazardous materials. This list is not totally inclusive nor can it be considered the BIBLE of common household disposal, but it does have recommendations or ideas until a more effective and efficient means of disposal can be established.

 

RECOMMENDED WAYS TO HANDLE COMMON HOUSEHOLD WASTES

Hazardous material Re-use the Material Dilute and Flush Down Drain Put in Trash (may need special precautions) Return to Manufacturer or Retailer Take to Recycling Location Specialized Hazardous Waste Collection Site Comments

AUTO SUPPLIES

Car Battery

Only if usable

 

Never

2nd best

Best

3rd Best

Contains lead and strong acid

PETROLEUM PRODUCTS

Crankcase oil

Not recommended

Never

Never

 

Best

2nd best

Some service stations accept used oil.

Fuels - gas, etc.

If usable

Never

Never

 

Unavailable

Best

Try to use up fuel

Antifreeze

If usable

Best

Never

 

Unavailable

2nd best

Contains methyl alcohol

PAINTING, REFINISHING SUPPLIES

Latex paints

Best

Never

3rd Best (evaporate first)

 

 

2nd best

 

Oil-base paint, varnish lacquer

Best

Never

3rd Best (evaporate first)

 

 

2nd best

 

Paint thinner, turpentine, mineral spirits

Best

Never

Not recommended

 

2nd best (If available)

3rd best

Solvents can be reused if solids settle out.

Paint stripper:

With Methylene chloride

2nd best

Never

Never

 

 

Best

Methylene chloride based paint stripper one of the most dangerous household substances.

With sodium hydroxide

Best

3rd best

Never

 

 

2nd best

 

BUILDING AND HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

Fluorescent lamp ballast

Never

Never

Never

 

 

Best

Pre-1978 ballasts may contain PCB's.

Defective smoke detectors

Never

 

Not recommended

Best

 

Will not accept

Contains radioactive material.

Flashlight batteries

Never

 

Last resort

 

Best

2nd best

Rechargeable batteries are especially hazardous.

Wood preservative

Only if free of banned chemicals.

Never

Never

 

 

Best

Cresote, penta and arsenic are dangerous.

Pressure-treated wood scraps, saw dust

If usable

Never

2nd (Wrap in plastic)

 

 

Best

Do not burn wood scraps.

Adhesives, caulks, etc.

If usable

Never

2nd best (evaporate first)

 

 

Best

 

Asbestos

Never

Never

Never

 

 

Only legal option.

May be able to encapsulate rather than remove.

Lead pipe

If usable

 

Never

 

Best

2nd best

 

CLEANING SUPPLIES

Oven/drain cleaner

Best

3rd best

Never

 

 

2nd best

Contains highly caustic sodium hydroxide.

Cleaning materials with solvents & petroleum distillates

Best

3rd best

Not recommended

 

 

2nd best

 

Ammonia cleaners

Best

3rd best

Not recommended

 

 

2nd best

 

Chloride bleach

Best

3rd best

Not recommended

 

 

2nd best

 

Spot remover/dry cleaning solvent

Best

Never

Never

 

 

2nd best

 

ART AND CRAFT SUPPLIES

Artist paints with lead, cadium and other hazards

Best

Never

3rd (slit open and evaporate first)

 

 

2nd best

Lead and other dangerous pigments are not banned from artist paints.

Photographic chemicals:

Unmixed solids

Best

Never

Not recommended

2nd best

 

3rd best

 

Used Solutions

Never

Last resort

Never

 

Best (or reclaim chemicals yourself)

2nd best

Write to Kodak for publication J-52.

Ceramic glass

3rd

Never

Best (solidify by firing first)

 

 

2nd best

Some ceramic glazes contain lead, uranium and other hazardous substances.

Solvents

Best

Alcohol okay

Not recommended

 

 

2nd best

May be able to reuse solvents by letting solids settle out.

Resins, epoxy

Best (if still good)

Never

Best (solidify first)

 

 

3rd best

 

PESTICIDES

Banned pesticides

Never

Never

Never

Best

 

2nd best

These may be very dangerous.

Unused legal pesticides, including poisons, flea powders & sprays, moth balls

2nd best

Never

3rd (wrap in plastic)

Usually not possible

 

Best

If giving pesticides to someone else, make sure they are in original containers and clearly marked with safety precautions.

Empty pesticide containers

 

 

2nd best (wrap in plastic)

 

 

Best