Every American must beware of harmful chemical products we may use. Mixing certain cleaners (i.e. bleach and ammonia) together can result in a killer gas by-product. Each year, we generate 1.6 million tons of hazardous household waste including, paints, cleaners, oils, batteries,and pesticides that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable and reactive ingredients. There is little information on how this impacts our health. Improper disposal of these toxins threatens public health and our environment. Especially if you live in a karst area where sinkholes, caves, caverns, and other holes act as direct conduits for contaminants to enter our wells and spring water when these products are disposed of on the ground or in other ways.
Increased consumer awareness on the safe use and disposal will lessen these toxic products from spoiling our land. We all profit from preventing this pollution to our water, land and air. For example the improper disposal of one gallon of used oil can impact 50 peoples water supply for one year. Do-it-yourselfers who change their own oil in Virginia throw out every four years─one Exxon Valdez. Hazardous contaminants may enter surface water, ground water, and soil from leaking containers, sewers, drains, spills, and other sources. Pouring hazardous liquids down drains or into plumbing systems also can damage both septic systems and wastewater treatment plants.
Recent studies document that toxic chemicals pose an elevated cancer risk to two-thirds of Americans. Roughly 200 million people are exposed to 32 toxic chemicals where the EPA documents concerns regarding these toxins. We may be involved in a different type of war on terrorism where we as consumers may endanger ourselves. Let’s exercise both prudence and wise purchasing so that we do not poison our own drinking water. We as consumers of harmful products must be active on many fronts to safeguard our family and community’s health. Let’s reduce the amount of harmful stuff we buy, recycle used oil and paints and safely disposed of our toxins from becoming tomorrow’s health problems.