Buy green at home and help save the world? The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in the United States, 32 billion gallons of runoff enters the oceans daily. These pollutants float away from fertilizing lawns and golf courses, factory farms discharging animal waste and oil leaking onto our roadways.
One third of all pollution released from the home comes from the cleaning products we use. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey found that 69% of streams sampled for contaminants contained persistent detergent metabolites and 66% contained disinfectants.
When the rain sends this runoff thru our storm drains into the rivers it creates massive, nutrient-fed algal blooms and oxygen depleted areas in the coastal zones, suffocating fish and other marine life. These dead zones are found along the shores of every major ocean including one of more than 8,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico.
As someone concerned about the impact your actions have on the environment, you should look at the ways your home cleaning products effect the environment. These include 1) Usage - Their use can release hazardous vapors into your homes that are unhealthy for your family. 2) Manufacture - The purchase of potentially hazardous products creates a demand for toxic chemicals which contributes to environmental pollution due to the development, manufacture and transportation of these chemicals. 3) Disposal - When hazardous products are used they release their ingredients into the waste stream adding to the runoff problem. Quite often hazardous products are not disposed of properly and get land filled or incinerated, releasing their toxins to the environment.
The use of toxic, non-biodegradable products will cause indoor air quality problems, possible chemical burns, prolonged health problems from absorption and even certain diseases. Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's disease are thought to be caused by environmental influences such as exposure to toxins found in cleaning solutions. In addition bioaccumulation studies have shown that some toxins store in our body fat for life. Greater amounts are being stored in younger people and diseases that used to develop later in life are now being found in children and teenagers.
There has been a 28% increase in childhood cancer since the addition of pesticides into household products (Source: National Cancer Institute)
Over 150 chemicals found in the average home have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities (Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission)
Most homes have airborne concentrations of hazardous and toxic chemicals that are 2-5 times higher indoors than outdoors (Source: Environmental Protection Agency's Report to Congress on Indoor Air Quality Act of 1989)
When it comes to choosing home cleaning supplies you have several options. Many cleaning supplies you find at the store come in "green" varieties, meaning that the cleaners are usually all natural organic elements with no chemicals. These products are safe for the environment.
Another option is to surf the Internet for the goods you need. This gives you the opportunity to learn more about what a company is offering and how well their choices match your environmental standards. Learn if they have a set of buy green standards that examine a products' lifecycle;
1) Source Material: What is the product made from?
2) Manufacturing: How is it manufactured?
3) Usage, How is it used and how does this efffect the environment?
4) Disposal: How do we dispose of it and what are the environmental impacts?
This information will help you protect our valuable water resources while offering a safe, rewarding, green shopping experience.