PPCPs or Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products include a long list of products like sunscreen, shampoo, makeup, toothpaste, lotion, and finger nail polish. By now, we’ve all heard about carbon footprints – how much we individually consume in energy and produce in greenhouse gases. But have you thought about your PPCP footprint?
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit dedicated to protecting human and environmental health, nearly 90% of ingredients used in personal care products have never been evaluated for safety. From hand soap to deodorant, an average of 126 “unique” ingredients are applied to our skin every day. Talk about a massive footprint!
Here at the Conservation Center we often challenge you to consider the life cycle of the products we buy. With PPCPs, there are substantial impacts to the environment (and to humans) in the phases of production, consumer-use, and disposal. Many PPCP contaminants are manufacturer side-effects derived from petroleum, surface runoff, and animal by-products.
Not only do we absorb some of these PPCP toxins, they often rinse off our bodies and flow down the drain. Sewage systems are not equipped for PPCP removal and there are no water treatment plants engineered to eliminate these chemicals from our drinking water or nearby streams. In fact, many contaminants in addition to PPCPs have been detected in our water…
- Never flush emerging contaminants down the drain.
- For women on birth control pills, look at alternatives to estrogen-based drugs.
- Eat less dairy and meat. Choose organic; organic farming does not incorporate the use of hormones, antibiotics, and steroids.
- Reduce or eliminate use of plastics in your home. If you must use plastics, use the safer, more stable plastics #2, 4, or 5. Cans are lined with plastics too so choose fresh and local food when you can.
- Avoid herbicides and pesticides around the house.
Step 2: Manage Responsibly
Filter out contaminants: A simple carbon filter hooked to your faucet is very effective in filtering out emerging contaminants. Bottled water is NOT the answer! Bottled water is not any safer than tap water as there are few regulations governing bottled water. Many plants use tap water as their source and plastic containers for their products. And knowing that plastic chemicals leach into water, why would you want to drink water in a plastic bottle anyway?
Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products Brochure
Top Five Emerging Contaminants
Get Plastics Out of Your Diet
Pink Water: Plastics, Pesticides, and Pills Are Contaminating Our Drinking Supply
Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database