Down the Drain: The Bathroom and our Waterways

After bubbly cleaning liquids and chemicals disappear down our drains, they are treated along with sewage and other wastewater at treatment plants, then discharged into nearby waterways.

 

 

Most ingredients in chemical cleaners break down into harmless substances during treatment or soon afterward. Others however do not, threatening water quality and wildlife.

This includes a class of chemicals called alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs). APEs are a key ingredient to a chemical detergents’ effectiveness. They are added to some laundry detergents, disinfectants, stain removers, cleaners and degreasers. When discharged into wastewater, they break down into nonylphenol and octylphenol, which are more toxic and not readily biodegrade in soil and water.

Another common water pollutant is phosphate. When phosphates enter waterways, they act as a fertilizer, spawning overgrowth of algae. This overabundance of aquatic plant life eventually depletes the water's oxygen supply, killing off fish and other organisms.

 

From shower to sewer…

 

 

Our everyday lives introduce a wide range of chemicals into our wastewater systems. The most common are chemicals associated with our bathroom cleaning routine. The harshest of these often used to tackle the shower.

Whilst these are extremely damaging to our waterways, they are also very dangerous to our health. Here’s a list of some of the most toxic products found in shower cleaning products:

Chlorine Bleach - which may irritate skin and airways and will form hazardous gases if mixed with ammonia or acidic cleaners.

Silica – an abrasive scrubbing agent, is harmful when inhaled. Very dangerous in the confined space of the shower.

Sodium Hydroxide and Sodium Hypochlorite - can permanently burn eyes and skin. Often found in chemical drain cleaners, which are among the most dangerous of all cleaning products. Can be fatal if ingested.

Other nasty ingredients are also used throughout the bathroom and washed straight down the drain. This includes Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA), which are found in many all-purpose cleaners. They can react with nitrites (an often undisclosed preservative) to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogens that readily penetrate the skin. These chemicals can also cause nerve damage.

Don’t forget about the toilet! Toilet bowl cleaners host numerous corrosive ingredients, which are severe eye, skin and respiratory irritants. Some also contain sulphates, which may trigger asthma attacks in those with asthma. And just think about where these are going after pressing the flush button…

 

Greenwashing

 

 

Choosing highly biodegradable “green” detergents is a good start in any household since they easily break down in the environment, but this is only the starting point.

You also must beware of unregulated "greenwash" claims on labels. Terms such as "natural" and "eco-friendly" shouldn't be equated with safety unless they're backed up with specific ingredient information, such as "solvent-free", "no petroleum-based ingredients" or "no phosphates”. 

 

 

The safest option is ENJO. The smart ENJOTex Fibre technology only requires water, meaning you’re not sending any nasty chemicals down the drain (or on your skin). 

The simple wet, wipe, dry action allows the ultra-fine ENJO Fibres to physically lift and remove dirt and bacteria from surfaces. Dirt and bacteria stay trapped within the weave of the fibre and are not released until the fibre is washed. Drying the surface clean with a super-absorbent ENJO Miracle helps prevent bacteria from growing.

ENJO is therefore safer for your health and the environment, being more effective at removing bacteria, and keeping surfaces cleaner for longer. 

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