What’s in your Common Household Chemicals?

As you work on improving the quality of the air in your indoor environment, be sure to utilize an excellent website from the United States Department of Health and Human Services called the Household Products Database. Simply go to http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/ or put the term “Household Products Database” into the search window of your Internet browser. Once you land on the home page, you will see many options for gathering information on chemicals and household products. For example, typing “acetone” into the quick search window brings up three options: acetone as an ingredient; acetone as a product; or acetone linked with health effects. Clicking on acetone as a product brings up chemical information, links to other databases, and a listing of products found to have acetone as an ingredient.

If you are interested in Home Office materials, click on that category on the left side of the page, or from the Home Office link on the home page. Once inside the Home office category, additional subcategories are listed, such as Home Office Cleaner. Continue to further explore the category in which you would like more information. Once inside the product information pages, a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is posted. The MSDS is a great place to find information on how to protect yourself when handling/disposing of a particular product, recommended disposal, and a listing of the main ingredients. Knowing the product name, the manufacturer, or the ingredient of interest will help you find this information quickly.

Another very helpful section in the Household Products Database is Health Effects. Try searching here for a topic like allergen or cancer or irritant. The search terms entered will yield lists of products that are associated with your topic of interest.

More specific instructions can be found by clicking on the links under Support, such as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Product Recalls, Help, Glossary, and More Resources.