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How can I dispose of hazardous materials in the home?


From industrial chemicals and toxic waste to household detergents and air fresheners, hazardous materials are part of our everyday lives. Hazardous materials are substances which, because of their chemical, physical, or biological nature, pose a potential risk to life, health, or property if they are handled improperly. There are many hazardous materials that can be found around the home and they should be used and disposed of with caution.

Materials such as lye, ammonia, acid in car batteries, industrial-strength cleaners, pesticides, and herbicides are all common household materials that must be handled with the utmost care. Always follow the instructions provided with these materials to prevent accidents. A variety of other substances can also be toxic if absorbed, ingested, or inhaled. These include products such as paints, polishes, glues and adhesives, paint thinner, nail polish remover, and dry-cleaning fluid. Avoid prolonged contact with all of these items.

Other potential dangers that may be in your home include:

Asbestos, a group of naturally fibrous minerals that was often used for insulation in the past. Asbestos is hazardous because the tiny fibers can cause lung disease if a person inhales enough of them. Removing asbestos in your home is not a do-it-yourself project.

Mercury found in household thermometers and barometers and in very small quantities in fluorescent lights, smoke detectors, cameras, and some switches. Mercury is a toxic substance; avoid direct contact.

Lead, although not manufactured in American-made paints today, was present in many house paints in the past. Children can suffer brain damage from repeatedly eating paint chips containing lead.

Cadmium is a toxic metal used to rustproof other metals. Bolts, screws, most rechargeable batteries, and some paints contain cadmium. Avoid prolonged contact or ingestion of this material.

Be sure to use any hazardous material with care and also dispose of them safely. For more information about hazardous materials in your home, contact the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District at (479) 846-3005, or toll free at (888) 426-9278. Their website is

The Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Center, located at 2615 Brink Drive in Fayetteville, is also available to residents for household waste disposal. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The following items are accepted at the HHW Collection Center:

  • Automotive supplies like batteries, antifreeze, motor oil, and tires
  • Paints, strippers, thinners, lacquers, and mineral spirits
  • Pesticides, herbicides, yard chemicals, pool chemicals and cleaners
  • Household batteries, flourescent bulbs, and mercury thermometers
  • Sharps
  • Similar household items

You can also learn more at