Monday, October 25, 2010

Unclogging Your Drain

A couple of green team members were in standing water for weeks. A drain that's not draining isn't pleasant. It's tempting to go for drano when a snake just isn't cutting it, but it's SOOO bad for water.

After bubbly cleaning liquids disappear down our drains, they are treated along with sewage and other waste water at municipal treatment plants, then discharged into nearby waterways. Most ingredients in chemical cleaners break down into harmless substances during treatment or soon afterward. Others, however, do not, threatening water quality or fish and other wildlife. In a May 2002 study of contaminants in stream water samples across the country, the U.S. Geological Survey found persistent detergent metabolites in 69% of streams tested.

PLUS... (according to Organic Consumers Association) The most acutely dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners, according to Philip Dickey of the Washington Toxics Coalition. Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns on eyes, skin and, if ingested, on the throat and esophagus. Ingredients with high acute toxicity include chlorine bleach and ammonia, which produce fumes that are highly irritating to eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and should not be used by people with asthma or lung or heart problems. These two chemicals pose an added threat in that they can react with each other or other chemicals to form lung-damaging gases.

Instead, try using a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for a half hour and then follow down with 2 quarts of boiling water. You may have to do it more than once. You can also go at it with a hanger (as we wound up doing) b/c the all-natural product we were using truthfully didn't cut it. Or call the plumber!

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