Within the last year, a lot of us have become fully aware of all the damage that we can cause in environments such as the ocean. However, we are beginning to make some real progress. For instance, plastic bag resistance is growing and a microbead ban has recently been implemented.
Plastic consumption is something that shouldn’t take up all of our attention, though, as you should also take the time to read all of the small print on the backs of the various cleaning products that you use, sometimes on a daily basis.
Aside from the more typical warnings that you will come across in this small print, you’ll also find information stating that some of the products are harmful to various types of aquatic life, and there are also equally as harmful long-lasting effects on the creatures that inhabit the water.
Products such as Persil non-bio detergent capsules and Surf biological liquid washing detergent all contain this message; however, it can also be found on multiple other products as well. While that type of warning can sound extremely serious, the big question is this: what exactly does it mean, and should we be worried? Even more, what exactly is meant by “harmful” and how is “long-lasting” defined?
According to the CLP (classification, labeling, and packaging) Regulation implemented by the EU back in 2015, all chemical mixtures are required to be assessed. If the products are determined to be hazardous in nature, they must be properly labeled and classified to reflect these hazards, especially on human health and the overall safety of the environment. Part of the labeling must include both a precautionary statement and a symbol reacting to the product’s actual classification.
In order to make the classification itself, the companies that manufacture them rely solely on existing data or other judgments rather than testing the products or their ingredients on fish or other forms of aquatic life.
In terms of the warning itself, it is based more on what’s referred to as “a very unrealistic scenario,” as the risk is reduced dramatically by, for example, diluting detergents in a washing machine before the substance is then transported to a water treatment plant by both sewage and waste water. It is then treated there before it ends up in either a river or ocean, where it is further diluted, thereby reducing any risk to the environment itself.
In the event that you are concerned by some of the ingredients you find in the cleaning products that you use, there are all sorts of alternatives that you can consider. For instance, companies like Method and Ecover produce eco-friendly products, which are also cruelty-free and vegan. The products are also very affordable.