Certain domestic wastes exhibit characteristics that render them dangerous, such as explosiveness, flammability, spontaneous combustion, reactivity, toxicity and corrosiveness. The lack of information about their generation and composition hinders the creation of special programs for their collection and treatment, making these wastes a potential threat to human health and the environment. We attempted to quantify the levels of hazardous household waste (HHW) generated in Mexicali, Mexico. The analysis considered three socioeconomic strata and eight categories. The sampling was undertaken on a house-by-house basis, and hypothesis testing was based on differences between two proportions for each of the eight categories. In this study, HHW comprised 3.49% of the total generated waste, which exceeded that reported in previous studies in Mexico. The greatest quantity of HHW was generated by the middle stratum; in the upper stratum, most packages were discarded with their contents remaining. Cleaning products represent 45.86% of the HHW generated. Statistical differences were not observed for only two categories among the three social strata. The scarcity of studies on HHW generation limits direct comparisons. Any decrease in waste generation within the middle social stratum will have a large effect on the total amount of waste generated, and decrease their impact on environmental and human health.
Keywords: Hazardous household wastes; Mexico; environmental contamination; mismanagement of wastes; waste disposal; waste generation.