Don’t you just love how your house smells after you’ve cleaned? Most people clean with the intent of creating a welcoming environment and reducing dirt, germs, allergens and pollutants.
Unfortunately, many of the cleaning products used every day in homes can harm the quality of air and water. Exactly how do these products harm the environment, and how can you help lessen the impact by switching to green cleaning products?
What lurks in your cleaning products?
Thousands of chemicals in a variety of products — many of which have never been tested for safety — pollute rivers and streams, and they can take years or decades to degrade to the point of harmlessness. Some never break down, instead hanging around in the environment indefinitely.
These chemicals often are eaten by water-dwelling creatures, thus entering the food chain that eventually can reach humans. Unsafe chemical substances can be toxic and can cause birth defects and contribute to illnesses like cancer.
The problem with packaging
In addition to the often-toxic chemical ingredients in commonly used household cleaners, their packaging can be problematic as well. Cleaning products come in a range of packaging types. Aerosol cans are large, bulky and difficult to recycle. Products often come in plastic containers that are strong and light, but not all locales offer recycling for them. When they’re simply thrown in the trash and end up in landfills, these containers biodegrade extremely slowly.
Harm to water
Local waste treatment plants remove most pollutants from water before it’s returned to waterways, but the process does not remove ammonia, phosphorous or nitrogen. In large amounts, these three chemicals pose significant contamination threats to water supplies.
Once in rivers, lakes and streams, the chemicals — also used as agricultural fertilizers — build up and cause faster growth of some plants. While chemical levels are controlled in agricultural environments, in water supplies, levels are not controlled. As a result, the excess nutrients lead to dense plant life that can choke marine animals and other plants. When these quickly growing plants die en masse, they begin to decay and reduce oxygen content of water, causing algae overgrowth. Animals then also die, and those deaths cause even more decay. Soon, the water is too polluted for human use.
Harm to air
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals found in household cleaners that can pose health risks by becoming concentrated in indoor air. When you raise a window to air out your home after cleaning, those chemicals move outdoors, where they contribute to smog.
What can you do to help?
To do your part in helping clean up the air and water, consider going green. Know what’s in your cleaning products, and make choices that don’t contribute to pollution. You can also use a different cleaning service that uses green cleaning products, such as Mopfrog of Brooklyn.
The cleaning products you use in your home can make a difference in air and water quality for everyone. As an environmentally friendly cleaning company, Mopfrog of Brooklyn is committed to keeping the air and water clean for future generations.