What is hazardous?
Find information about safe storage and disposal of common hazardous products. For more information, ask Metro at 503-234-3000.
Adhesives and glues
Air fresheners and deodorizers
Arts and crafts supplies
Carpet and rug cleaners
Detergents, dishwashing or laundry
Fingernail polish and remover
Gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel
Hand cleaners, mechanic or painter
Lighter fluid, charcoal
Medical waste or sharps
Medicines, unwanted or expired drugs
Mercury- and PCB-containing items
Mothballs and moth crystals
Motor oil and oil filters
Paint and clear wood finish
Paint strippers or paint scrapings
Polishes and cleaners, metal
Polishes and waxes, wood furniture and floors
Polishes, cleaners or waxes, automotive
Pool or spa chemicals
Septic tank cleaners
Smoke detectors, ionizing type
Soot remover or creosote destroyer
Stain and spot removers
Windshield wiper solution
Is it hazardous? Read the label
Read product labels carefully before you buy and watch for the signal words danger, warning and caution. Danger means the product is extremely hazardous because it is poisonous, extremely flammable or corrosive. Warning or caution indicates a product that is somewhat less hazardous but still poses dangers.
Products without the signal words above are considered the least hazardous. Buy the least hazardous products you can find to do the job, or try alternatives.
Dangers of hazardous products in the home
- Flammable/combustible: Can easily be set on fire or ignited.
- Explosive/reactive: Can detonate or explode through exposure to heat, shock or pressure.
- Corrosive/caustic: Can burn skin and eyes.
- Toxic/poisonous: Capable of causing injury or death if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin.
- Radioactive: Can damage and destroy cells and chromosomal material.
- Environmental damage: Can contaminate rivers, lakes and drinking water, and cause air pollution.
Buy only what you need
If you must purchase hazardous products, buy only what you can use completely to avoid needing to store the product. If you do have leftovers, try to find someone who can use them up.
Follow safety precautions
- Use proper safety equipment.
- Work outside or in a well-ventilated area.
- Wash hands and clean up after.
- Store products safely.
- Keep products in their original containers.
Practice safe disposal
Many products should be taken to a hazardous waste disposal site. For disposal options outside the Portland metropolitan area, call your garbage hauler, local government office or the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
Search Metro's online database for disposal options near you