THIS WEEK: At the Shops
Use kitchen, bathroom, and other cleaning products that will not harm the environment, such as phosphate-free detergents and paraben- and phthalate-free shampoos and cosmetics.
Phosphates have already been banned from laundry detergents in the United States and Europe to reduce negative effects on fresh water quality and ecosystems.
A 2007 report by the Royal Society of Chemistry found that wastewater treatment plants are often unable to prevent chemicals found in household products from being released into the environment. These chemicals include phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive problems and can accumulate in the bodies of animals.
Use plain soap and water for removing germs and avoid antibacterial soaps and other products containing triclosan.
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that can build up in the environment. It is toxic to aquatic organisms and has been found in the bodies of fish and even human breast milk. Antibacterial soaps and gels are ubiquitous, but currently there is no evidence that these products are any more effective than plain soap for removing germs.