Background And Aims: Cleaning products are used to achieve cleaner homes. However, they have been responsible for a considerable number of poisoning cases. The aims of this study were to investigate the storage and utilization patterns of cleaning products in the home, as well as the risk of adverse and toxic effects produced by them.
Methods: This study has been performed using a questionnaire that was developed by the Poison Control and Drug Information Center (PCDIC). The questionnaire was distributed randomly in northern Palestine. The questionnaire included questions regarding storage, utilization habits, and the adverse effects experienced by respondents upon handling the cleaning products.
Results: All respondents utilized and stored cleaning products in their homes. Chlorine bleach and acidic cleaning products were the most common. Respondents stored cleaning products at different places in their homes, but most of those storage places were suboptimal and were within the reach of children. The daily utilization rate of cleaning products was 1.6+/-0.8 with chlorine bleach being the most commonly used. Of the respondents, 27% reported experiencing a wide range of acute adverse and toxic effects resulting from cleaning product use and that exposure occurred mainly via inhalation. Caustic substances, bleach, and kerosene were the agents mainly involved in producing these adverse and toxic effects. About half of those who experienced adverse and toxic effects sought medical help, and 22% of them were children younger than 6 years of age. Finally, most respondents reported mixing and discarding cleaning product leftovers and their containers improperly.
Conclusion And Recommendations: Correct utilization and safer storage of cleaning products is encouraged. Several preventive strategies should be implemented in order to decrease the incidence of accidental harmful exposure that is due to cleaning agents. The role of the PCDIC is very important in the education, prevention, and management of cleaning product-induced adverse effects.