The environmental impact of soaps and detergents

When we talk about pollution, we easily think about air pollution through vehicles or factories, waste such as plastics or hard-to-decompose waste, or even toxic materials for the environment. But an act as daily as personal hygiene based on soaps and / or detergents is highly damaging to the planet and seems to go more unnoticed than those mentioned above.

Soap has been present in our history for years. In the beginning, it was made naturally, with natural oils and aromatic plants that gave them pleasant smells. With the passage of time and the arrival of the industry, this type of product has been exploited to the point that it is not only a product of first necessity, but that the brands have been mutating to transform it into a more exclusive product.

And it is precisely now, when we begin to wonder about the impact of soaps and detergents on our planet, that its manufacturing is at its highest point. The main problem is clear, in its elaboration process large quantities of a non-renewable resource essential for the existence of life are wasted and contaminated: water.

We must take into account a series of important points that affect the environment:

  • Biodegradability: Only soaps with the surfactant (substance of the soaps that causes damage to aquatic life) that lose 90% of its property of decreasing the surface tension of the water after 28 days of being discharged can be labeled as biodegradable.

 

  • Eutrophication: Many conventional detergents use phosphates, phosphonates or percarboxylates as enhancers. These substances act as algae fertilizers, causing them to reproduce very quickly. The large amount of algae depletes the oxygen in the water, which is no longer available for aquatic fauna (microbes and fish), and generates bad odors. In addition to causing very serious imbalances in lakes and rivers.

 

  • Bleachers: Although bleaching agents are rarely used in these types of products, they could sometimes contain chlorine or oxygen. One of the main problems of the chlorine industry is that it generates organochlorine substances, such as dioxins and furans, which cause many health problems such as: hormonal dysfunctions, malformations in the fetus and cancer, among others, and because they cannot be metabolized , accumulate in the tissues of living beings.

 

  • Antibacterial: Lately, many conventional detergents contain antibacterial agents. They have no practical utility, and instead can cause problems to aquatic bacterial life.

 

  • Packing: Although there are detergents that are presented in cardboard boxes, the tendency is to present conventional detergents and soaps in plastic containers. The most common is to use several types of plastic that can not be separated later, and therefore can not be recycled, and this is a serious problem for our planet.

As you can see, it is very important that we all become aware of it and begin to act thinking about the care of the planet and directly, in our own survival. It is urgent to promote the use of soaps and biodegradable detergents, in addition to other substances for cleaning in general, which end up leading to drains, which in turn reach rivers and seas, causing serious contamination of the waters, which threatens the existence of many species.

One of the first steps to contribute to the reduction of pollution is to be aware of everything that pollutes, that we inform ourselves and seek alternatives free of waste, which are increasingly more, but we still need to give more prominence to all of them in Our day to day

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