Chemical and biological pollution threatens the well-being of all species living on, in, or around the Great Lakes, including us. A good way to help reduce water pollution is by using water-quality friendly household cleansers. Start by taking the pledge below. (image: Chicago Zoological Society)
(video: U.S. EPA/ EPA YouTube)
“Surfactants” and “builders” are ingredients in household cleansers that can negatively affect the environment. “Surfactants” help remove dirt. Removing grime when cleaning our homes is a good thing, but surfactants that break down slowly pollute waterways. A solution is to use products with surfactants that break down quickly.
“Builders” including inorganic phosphate help detergents work better. However, increased phosphates in lakes stimulate algae growth. This biologic productivity is called eutrophication. While increased growth may seem like a good thing, these green plants die and decompose at the bottom of the lake, consuming oxygen. Reduced oxygen may cause organisms to have poor health or die. A solution is to use phosphate-free cleansers that still get the job done.
The U.S. EPA offers guidance on household cleaning products through their Design for the Environment program. Take a look at this great resource. http://www.epa.gov/dfe/
I pledge to use water-quality friendly household cleansers. I pledge to use up the cleansers I already have, then switch to cleansers that do not pollute waterways.
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Others have made a commitment to use water-quality friendly household cleansers, preventing harmful pollutants from entering the Great Lakes. See how many in your area have made this important pledge.