Extension Service News: Be careful of look alikes

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By Judy Hetterman

Each year, poison centers across the United States receive more than 1 million calls about children being accidentally poisoned. Nine out of 10 of the poisonings occur in the home. Many of the potential culprits for accidental poisonings are chemicals and cleaners used in our homes. Several of these products may look like foods or beverages that are safe to eat or drink. In some cases, the actual products look very similar. In others, the packaging is almost identical. If you have young children in your home, be mindful of look-a-like products that could be hazardous. Think for a moment about these examples.
Examples of products that look-a-like:
• Liquid pine cleaner and apple juice
• Window cleaner and blue fruit drink
• Antifreeze and lime or lemon-lime juice
• Grape-flavored cold medicine and grape-flavored beverages
• Alcohol and water
• Rat or mouse poison and cereal
• Antacid tablets and candy
• Vitamins and candy
Chocolate-flavored laxative and chocolate candy

Examples of product containers that look-a-like:
• Powdered cleanser and parmesan cheese
• Dog biscuits and animal crackers or cookies
ª Cat food and tuna fish

Help protect your family by taking a few simple precautions. Hazardous products should always be stored in their original containers with the label intact. The best storage place is a locked cabinet. If you do not have a locking cabinet, be sure the products are out of the reach of children and pets. Never store dangerous products in food or beverage containers. Post the toll-free number for the Poison Control Center near all your home telephones and save as a contact on your cell phone in case of an emergency. The nationwide number is (800) 222-1222. For proper disposal of any of these or other items contact your county solid waste coordinator or the Owen County Extension Office. For information about look-a-like products, contact the Owen County Extension Office.