Blog: Carlita the Croc

Work from Home (for clean water!) Part I

Changes in water quality can happen in a multitude of ways.  So I’ve decided to break the content up into two categories:  Things you can change at home and things you can change as a community.  Today we address things you can change in your home to affect my home, okay?

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A common way that household and personal items from your home end up in the waterways is through your drain or toilet.  Remember that sink drains, basement drains, and the like are not black holes down which all toxins disappear.  But, that’s good!  Because we need the water that goes down the drain.  What we don’t need is all the other stuff that humans dump, too:  medications, household cleaning products, even soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics can contain harmful ingredients. 

Sinks and Drains
Dumping stuff down the drain in your home might seem like an easy way to dispose of products that you’re not using anymore, but not just anything can go down the drain.  Paint, paint removers or strippers, insecticides, metal polishes all contain very harsh chemicals that wastewater systems are not equipped to filter out.  When these chemicals enter waterways, they can have a big impact on the water quality and the health of wildlife, which will impact human health.  Instead, check to see if your local police station or town hall has collection days for hazardous household waste. 

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The same goes for expired and unused medications.  Dumping them down the drain only shares those medications – which can include controlled substances, hormones, and antibiotics – with anyone or anything that comes into contact with that water.  Here is a list of drop-off locations in Cook County, Illinois.

While we’re at it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get into the habit of taking a closer look at your personal care products.  In Illinois, plastic microbeads have been banned, but the ban has until the end of 2018 to hold companies in compliance.  You, as a consumer, can avoid purchasing products with plastic microbeads starting now. 

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Triclosan, the ingredient that makes hand soaps antibacterial is proving to have major effects on algae development and has just been banned by the FDA.  You may remember algae as the base of the aquatic food chain and plays an important role in water quality.  Read the ingredients list on your home care products and make an effort to understand what the ingredients do and how they affect your health and the health of the environment. 

Now reader, your mission, should you choose to accept it (and you should) is to incorporate the above into your daily life to insure clean water for me and you.  Tweet or leave a comment and tell me what new clean water habit you’ve taken up in the name of human health and the health of the planet! 

Posted: 10/5/2016 10:09:54 AM by


Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.

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