How Household cleaners affect our environment: You wouldn't pour your dirty cleaning bucket over your garden. But when we use excessive chemicals around the house, we're pouring those cleaners out into our environment. • The chemical based household products from a single home may seem insignificant, but when millions of homes use similar products major problems can arise. • Improper use, storage and disposal of household hazardous products can potentially pollute our neighborhoods and contaminate our environment. The health of our communities and environment is endangered when household cleaners are discarded in garbage, sinks or storm drains. • When thrown in with regular trash, household hazardous waste may end up in landfills not intended or permitted for those types of wastes. • When poured on the ground, household hazardous waste may seep into and contaminate our groundwater and/or the ocean. • When flushed down a toilet, sink or drain, household hazardous waste is transported through the sewage system to treatment plants that are not equipped to handle hazardous waste. • At treatment plants, hazardous waste interferes with the biological treatment process and can contaminate the effluent that runs into the ocean and the biosolids that cannot then be reused as fertilizer. • When hazardous waste is thrown on the street, it goes down storm drains leading into our area waterways, impacting the Pacific Ocean and our local beaches. Phosphates… • Phosphates are one of the biggest culprits in ocean pollution. They are common in laundry detergents and some cleaning products. • Phosphates are common in laundry detergents and some cleaning products. • High phosphate levels can kill life in rivers, streams and oceans by causing "algae blooms." • Algae slimes dense enough to suffocate marine life have been swelling around the world, especially in coastal bays. They are largely caused by fertilizing pollutants called "nutrients" in human sewage and farm runoff. Phosphates.. • Some marine experts call this type of ocean pollution a silent, global epidemic that could destroy American's most scenic and commercially valuable waters. • Nutrients have devastated many popular fishing spots and shellfish beds. Many coastal bays have turned the hue of pea soup, and some have regressed to "dead zones"--water so depleted of oxygen that only primitive creatures such as bacteria and algae can survive. • Some progress has been made in tackling this problem. Phosphates have been banned in many areas. But some supermarket varieties still contain them. In addition, many other household cleaning products contain harmful solvents and harsh chemicals that destroy the natural processes involved in wastewater treatment. Dispose of old or unwanted cleaners properly: • Do not throw unwanted cleaners down the drain or in the garbage! • Contact your municipal hazardous waste depot for proper disposal instructions.