Monthly Archive for September, 2011

When We Don’t Know What We Know

We know this stuff, and yet, why don’t we add it up?

Even my sleeping bag label tells me to wash it in mild “non-detergent soap,” because the makers know the high-tech fabric will lose its water repellency — become more permeable — from detergent residues.

Some researchers use detergents for transdermal drug delivery (getting drugs to absorb through the skin).

detergent pollutionHere’s something I just stumbled across on an environmental company’s web site:

“Detergents also add another problem for aquatic life by lowering the surface tension of the water. Organic chemicals such as pesticides and phenols are then much more easily absorbed by the fish. A detergent concentration of only 2 ppm can cause fish to absorb double the amount of chemicals they would normally absorb…”  (Photo of detergent pollution thanks to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)

Read more from the above company site at:

It’s not difficult to see that under such conditions, the skin is also a less capable barrier against pathogens.

Lastly, here’s a detailed and alarming study looking at concentrations of synthetic detergents and pesticides in surface and groundwater in India:  “The synthetic detergents (or surfactants) and pesticides are the two most common group of chemical compounds that are increasingly being used in modern civilization. Surfactants are common contaminants of aquatic environments due to their large consumption in all types of washing and cleaning operations”. [NC Ghose, D Saha, A Gupta, Synthetic Detergents (Surfactants) and Organochlorine Pesticide Signatures in Surface Water and Groundwater of Greater Kolkata, India, J. Water Resource and Protection, 2009, 4, 290-298 doi:10.4236/jwarp.2009.14036 Published Online October 2009.]

I could go on.  We know all this stuff, and yet … it’s as if we don’t remember the minute we’re in a different sphere of life or work.

(Thanks to Free Nature Photos for the image of the Aussie Tree Frog