Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Lies Beneath

On Tuesday I took a walk around a local lake. I enjoyed watching the sunlight glisten on the water and the ducks swimming along the shore. The park looked like a clean, healthy place for these animals to live.
But after watching Frontline’s show, “Poisoned Waters,” that evening, I realized this lake, along with all the streams, rivers and lakes in this country, is anything but clean. In the show, correspondent Hedrick Smith examines the rising hazards to human health and the ecosystem, and why it's so hard to keep our waters clean.

One reason our waters are so polluted are the number of toxins in household cleaning and beauty products, such as parabens, surfactants and chlorine, that get washed down our drains into streams and rivers. Here is what Vicki Blazer, a researcher for the U.S. Geological Survey, had to say about these chemicals:
“Part of the problem of trying to identify specific chemicals, or even groups of chemicals, is just that [the range] is so large, and so many of these things act at very low concentrations. And so even getting the methods to measure them in the water at those low concentrations is something that's just developing, which is why we refer to this as an emerging-contaminants issue. These are contaminants we're just beginning to recognize can have serious effects. ...”
Indeed, scientists are coming to the conclusion that the reason they are finding frogs with six limbs and male fish with eggs in their gonads is due to the chemicals found in these products as well as herbicides and pesticides.
While I can’t stop farmers and corporations from dumping toxins into our rivers, I can stop toxins from running down my house’s drain. For the past year, I’ve made my own all-natural beauty and cleaning products, and think they work just as well as chemical-based ones. You can get the recipes for these products on the right-hand sidebar, under "Tutorials."
And if you’re not inclined to make your own products, more stores offer eco-friendly ones than ever before. Costco, for example, now sells affordable bulk sizes of dish detergent, dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent made with plant-based cleaning agents instead of chemicals.
So my Thrifty Green Thursday tip is watch “Poison Waters," and check out all the great tips on its corresponding web site that tell how you can take care of our planet's most precious resource.
Click here for more tips.


Abbi said...

This past year has been a big year of change for me in going to more natural products. One by one we can make a difference!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the link; I'll have to watch that. I, too, have been switching over to greener cleaners over the years. It's much cheaper and easier than I imagined.

Thanks for another excellent Thrifty Green Thursday contribution!

Courtney said...

I love frontline! wow this this is so sad isn't it! we have tried very hard to eliminated all that stuff from our house.

Mama Zen said...

Our neighborhood duck pond sports a sign: "Fish Are Contaminated."

Nice, huh?

StatMama said...

There is a sign posted at our lake that says children and the elderly are advised not to swim. Sad.

Greenbaby said...

It's so true! The animals living all around us really are the canaries in the coal mines. If we don't tune into what is happening in our ponds and streams we miss out on the bigger picture for our children and grandchildren. Thanks for the link to the tutorials and for joining us this Thrifty Green Thursday!

bernthis said...

I have made the switch almost entirely. It is frightening what has happened to our planet and it scares me that there is no going back

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

Great idea. I'll have to check these tutorials out!