Take care to avoid environmental, accidental poisoning

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Poison prevention is always in season. As if we don’t make enough excuses to avoid spring cleaning, it could lead to accidental poisonings if cleaning chemicals are inhaled, get into the eyes or are ingested.

The same is true for the start of lawn and garden work, which often includes the use of fertilizer and weed-control substances. Use caution as you handle these products, and be mindful of where you set them down temporarily on work days.

Medications are another category of useful products that can quickly become harmful poisons if used incorrectly. Always use and re-seal child safety caps. Store both poisons and medicines out of a child’s sight and reach, perhaps even in a locked cabinet.

Save the Poison Help number 800-222-1222 in your phone contacts. There is more information at the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Another very common source of poison in Iowa is radon. Radon is a poisonous gas produced from a natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It’s invisible, odorless and seeps into basements, slabs and crawl spaces.

Inhaling radon causes lung damage, including lung cancer. Installing a radon detector will warn you if this gas is coming into your home. Become more aware of radon and its risks to you and your family by reading the information at the National Safety Council website.

Just like a smoke detector, there is a warning device to alert you of the presence of radon in your home or business. If you don’t have a radon gas detector, you may pick one up for $8 at the Dallas County Health Department. Call 515-993-3750 to get a radon detector.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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