Petroleum and Other Organic Pollutants
WHAT IS PETROLEUM?
Petroleum is a naturally occurring liquid which forms when dead organisms (usually zooplankton and algae) are buried beneath sedimentary rock and then subjected to intense heat and pressure. Eventually it becomes a thick mixture of gaseous, liquid, and solid hydrocarbons. Because crude oil is made up of different kinds of organic compounds, it is carcinogenic and lethal to fish.
WHAT ARE OTHER ORGANIC POLLUTANTS?
Organic pollutants are toxic substances made of organic compounds. (Organic substances and compounds refer to any compound that contains carbon). They are usually industrial chemicals or products from industrial processes. Organic pollutants can be found anywhere--water, soil, and air. These pollutants are especially dangerous because their toxins don’t break down easily and they can accumulate in the body fat of humans and other animals. Small amounts of these compounds can cause nervous system damage, immune system diseases, reproductive disorders, and cancer.
(PPCPs) PHARMACEUTICALS AND PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
- Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
- Veterinary drugs
- Sun-screen products
- Diagnostic agents
- Nutraceuticals (e.g., vitamins)
While PPCPs may have an impact on human health, they have a much greater impact on fish and other aquatic wildlife. These organisms are more susceptible to problems from PPCPs because they have continual exposures, multi-generational exposures, and exposure to higher concentrations of PPCPs in untreated water.
PROPER DISPOSAL OF PPCPs
- Find a permanent disposal bin near you.
- Attend a "Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet" event near you (generally in April and October).
If the above options are not available, safely dispose of PPCPs in your household by:
- Removing the prescription label
- Crushing up the pills
- Mixing the PPCPs with undesirables such as kitty litter or coffee grounds
- Sealing in a plastic bag
- Taking it out on the day trash is picked up