While you may be interested in reducing the environmental impact of your home with energy efficient solutions, there are many apparently harmless products used every day that are causing water pollution. Rivers, streams, and lakes are continually being polluted simply because homeowners are using some of these environmentally damaging culprits.
As one of the beauty staples, microbead scrubs are increasingly popular. Unfortunately, the microbeads that make your favorite facial or body scrub, or toothpaste more effective are a common pollutant. Once the product has been washed into the drain, the tiny pieces of plastic can end up in lakes and waterways. Fish often mistake these beads for eggs and eat them. Since the beads often contain petroleum that can become a magnet for other pollutants such as PCBs, flame retardants, DDT and some other industrial chemicals, there is not only a threat to marine life but also to human health, when the toxin contaminated fish may be eaten.
When scientists found billions of microbeads in the waters of the Great Lakes, the states of Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York proposed a ban on the sale of plastic containing products such as microbead scrubs. Until legislation is established to pull these products from the marketplace, you can help avoid contributing to this issue by reading labels and avoiding products that contain microbeads.
Personal and Household Products:
There are many popular personal and household products which contain EDCs. EDCs or Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals such as phthalates, parabens and triclosan are washed into the drains and flow into lakes and waterways. Unfortunately, these chemicals alter the hormone levels of aquatic life, birds, and mammals. Research has shown that EDCs potentially can also interfere with human hormone levels. For environmental benefits and to avoid potential health issues, you may wish to consider opting for similar products that don’t contain EDCs.
Car Wash Detergents:
While we all want our cars to look clean and shiny, car wash detergents have the potential to cause water pollution. According to data from the EPA, up to 90% of US residents report their car washing water drains directly into the street. Allowing the water to drain into the street means that it will ultimately find its way into rivers and waterways. Car wash water can contain chemicals, solvent based solutions and poisonous detergents that can be harmful to marine life and waterways. Fortunately, there are several eco-friendly car washing detergents that are free of petroleum and biodegradable. Switching to these products can dramatically lessen your environmental impact and allow you to keep your car clean and shiny.
There are some common products that are responsible for water pollution. If you are interested in protecting our waterways and reducing your environmental impact, it is worth assessing what products you are using in your home. There are a number of environmentally friendly options like using a water softener is a very good idea as it contains fewer chemicals and less potential pollutants. By switching to these products, you will not only reduce your risk of health issues but can be reassured that you are contributing to protecting our rivers, streams, lakes and waterways.