MISSOULA, Mont. - Hydrogen peroxide is a common household product, but officials say it can also be misused in an explosive device. Stores carry household products that are readily available to the public. It's when products are misused that's problematic.
NBC Montana asked business owners and local law enforcement officials if they take proactive steps to keep potentially hazardous materials from ending up in the wrong hands.
Murdoch's Store Manager Kris Dahlguist says they have ways to help keep tabs on unusual purchases.
"Items that are considered suspect, not necessarily illegal, but suspect and if we see someone who is buying larger quantities we'll watch for that," said Dahlguist.
Murdoch's also asks for an ID to purchase certain products.
NBC Montana reached out to other hardware stores in Missoula, and managers say they've talked with their cashiers about detecting suspicious activity.
Missoula Police Department's bomb squad member Ed Gydas says businesses should be aware of unusual purchases, larger quantities of a particular product and customer demeanor.
"As far as a hardware stores, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) does have a program reaching out to those stores to educate them about what to look for and encourage them to call us if they do find something suspicious," said Gydas.
Missoula has no formal program but local authorities offer an educational service.
This week's pipe bomb incident was a rare event but it was a reminder that normal household products can also be used for harm.