Why do detergents cause water pollution?

Asked by Anju Charan | 10th Nov, 2013, 06:04: PM

Expert Answer:

The Hazards of Detergents to Water
  • One of the main sources of chemical pollutants is everyday detergents.
  • Many laundry detergents contain approximately 35 percent to 75 percent phosphate salts.
  • Phosphates can cause a variety of water pollution problems. For example, phosphate tends to inhibit the biodegradation of organic substances.
  • Non-biodegradable substances cannot be eliminated by public or private wastewater treatment.
  • Over-enrichment of phosphate can cause the water body to become choked with algae and other plants.
  • Specific contaminants leading to water pollution include a wide range of chemicals (such as bleach) and microbes.
  • Detergents sometimes could be carcinogenic, so they should be eliminated from the water.
  • The detergents can contain suspected carcinogens, and ingredients that do not fully biodegrade.
  • Detergents also contain oxygen-reducing substances (i.e. a chemical compound that readily transfers oxygen atoms) that may cause severe damage to the fish and marine animals.
  • This may also lead to eutrophication. Eutrophication is a process by which a water body becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients (e.g., phosphates, calcium and magnesium).
  • It has negative impacts on the environment, especially on aquatic animals because water rich in nutrients stimulates the growth of aquatic plant life, resulting in depletion of oxygen.

Answered by Hanisha Vyas | 11th Nov, 2013, 10:35: AM

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