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EcoKids Report #8

HAZARDOUS PRODUCT STUDY December 12, 1998



On Saturday, December 12, Sondra Goodman from Kansas City’s Household Hazardous Waste program, met the EcoKids outside Westlake Hardware in the Landing Shopping Center.

kids at store

Before entering the store we divided into four groups, paint supplies, plumbing, garden and automotive. Each group’s task was to collect ten hazardous items from the shelves and list the product and the signal word such as Caution, Warning, or Danger and to see if it listed an EPA identification number.

The kids went to work quickly and quietly (Whew!) and were able to visit more of the store than originally planned. We then met in back in the corner in the garden department and each team showed and told about the products they collected.

We learned that hazardous products have one of these four qualities

  • flammable

  • corrosive

  • explosive

  • toxic

Law requires products to display a Signal Word on all hazardous products. The Signal Words are Caution, Warning and Danger. Products displaying Danger require the most care in usage. Products marked Danger can cause death if used improperly. Any product that displays an EPA Identification Number is regulated as a pesticide and should be handled very carefully.

In comparing labels we found that some manufacturers labels would look fun and Earth friendly but looking closer a signal word was found. It was not always easy to find the signal word. The EcoKids made drawings of ideal labels and made recommendations for standardizing placement of the signal words for easy viewing. Sondra will present them at a conference she is attending soon in Washington DC.

Thanks to Sondra of course and to Kevin Miller, Manager of the Westlake store. Thanks also go to Roberta Vogel, Tonya Lee, Ellie Dawson and Eric Thut for volunteering to lead the investigation teams in the store.


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