The Environmental Protection Authority is reminding Kiwis to stay safe this summer when firing up the barbecue, taking a dip in the pool or hitting the beach.
“The sun, pool and spa chemicals, and liquid petroleum gas all pose risks, especially to children: this can include toddlers near open flames, or gaining access to chemicals that are not locked up and out of sight,” says EPA’s Safer Homes programme spokesperson Lizzie Wilson.
“Mixing spa and pool chemicals can also create a poisonous gas or even explode, and it’s also best not to touch spa and pool chemicals as you can get skin reactions or burns,” says Lizzie.
“We recommend Kiwi’s read the labels on household chemicals to understand what they are, how they should be used, and what the risks are to your family by storing them at home.
“This advice also extends to sunscreen, the best protection from the sun, which are not all created equally,” says Lizzie. “We encourage you to visit the Consumer NZ website, which has good advice to help you find a suitable sunscreen.”
For more tips visit: www.epa.govt.nz/saferhomes or the EPA Safer Homes Facebook page.
Buy sunscreens from brands and retailers that you know and trust, if in any doubt about the safety of a product – don’t buy or use it, and if the label isn’t in English, doesn’t list the ingredients, batch code and New Zealanders importer and manufacturer contact details, the product isn’t compliant with the rules.
Read the label and follow instructions and store out of reach of small children. Even if the product says it’s non-toxic and natural it could be dangerous if swallowed. If you have an allergic or other reaction to a sunscreen product, stop using it immediately. If the reaction is severe, get medical advice from a doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.
Subhead: Stay safe around LPG
LPG ignites and burns easily, and if it leaks, it can ignite and sometimes explode. It is stored under pressure in canisters and cylinders, and LPG appliances can give off carbon monoxide if they are not burning properly, so ensure your appliance is working properly and is serviced regularly.
‘Huffing’ or breathing LPG in intentionally can make you sick or even kill you.
Subhead: Chemical use in your spa or swimming pool
You should follow directions on the label to ensure you use your spa chemicals safely, and wear safety gear and long clothing when using chemicals.
Add chemicals directly to your spa or pool – unless directions say otherwise. It can be dangerous to mix chemicals with small amounts of water, such as mixing them in a cup or bucket; they may explode.
Clean up any spills quickly, following directions on the label – never mix different spa chemicals together. This can make them release poisonous gas, or even explode, and wash your hands well when done.
Subhead: Storing chemicals safely
Store chemicals in their original containers, make sure they are kept well away from heat, fires and electricity, and store chemicals in a locked cupboard, where children and pets can’t get to them.
Keep them away from other chemicals that can burn easily, like petrol or LPG and ensure you store all liquids upright, not on their sides. This will help stop big spills. Check you have shut all containers tightly.