View topic - Dangers of 'Biodegradeable' soap.

It is currently December 7th, 2019, 2:06 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
PostPosted: October 26th, 2010, 9:41 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
Posts: 8937
Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Quote:
Probably the most significant thing is soaps no longer include phosphates which can have an effect in reducing lake transparency


agreed. Phosphates are a major contributor to algal blooms.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algal_bloom

I think that disposal of grey water in soil is geared more toward ensuring down river users pleasant looking pleasant tasting water. I dont want to use water where I find spaghetti on the bottom of the lake, even though I know its flour and egg only.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 27th, 2010, 12:27 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
I still can't find an easy answer to our question. But I did find the statement: "Glycerol is of low toxicity."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycerol

Soap is basically a fatty acid. A vegetable based soap is produced through a process called sponification, which separates the fatty acid into a salt and a glycerol (typically through exposure to a highly alkaline solution, such as lye or sodium carbonate). Glycerol is water soluble.

More on the chemical properties of soap:

http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/554soap.html

Where is the chemical engineer when we need one?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 27th, 2010, 9:51 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 6146
Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
LRC,

Quote:
...agreed. Phosphates are a major contributor to algal blooms.


This is the thing with high-transparency lakes, how significant are the human additions relative to those that are natural? Some of the natural phosphorus inputs to lakes include pollen and leaves. That green surface film during early summer is probably pine pollen, and being biodegradable, makes summertime lake algae bloom a little more.

Forest fires are a natural part of northern ecosystems and since wood ash contains phosphorus, a large burn in a lake watershed can double the amount of phosphorus in a lake, reducing transparency significantly. For campers to equal that kind of effect, the campsites would probably have to be Woodstock-sized.

_________________
><((((º>


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 27th, 2010, 10:12 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
Posts: 8937
Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Quite I would guess. Most every lake in the state is ringed with pines. You only hear of algal blooms on heavily lived on lakes with old septic systems and questionable vegetation zoning.

Otherwise algal blooms are pretty much non existent. Its a good thing phosphorus is not found in detergents anymore. With the spread of invasive plants, there are boat washing stations. It would be a shame to add another impact in the process of trying to mitigate one impact.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 27th, 2010, 10:17 am 
Offline

Joined: October 23rd, 2010, 10:39 am
Posts: 60
Ted wrote:

Surely one droplet of a vegetable-based soap in a large lake can't be that much of an environmental hazard unless large numbers of trippers use massive amounts of soap.

I was thinking of using peeing in the lake as an analogy but thought the better of it.

Cheers Ted


It's not a question of saving the environment .. that can't be done because almost no property owners with homes and cottages on lakes and rivers will spend money for composting toilets, greywater holding tanks, etc .. but individual responsibility and edification is another thing .. we can be responsible as individuals and feel good about our own practices .. we can fertilize the forest or shrubs with our washwater instead of fertilizing algae and causing fish to swim in chemicals .. it's a very simple thing.

_________________
I think, in general, outdoor enthusiasts on internet forums should spend more time on the water, in the water, around the water, etc.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 27th, 2010, 5:39 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
I think I've exhausted my research at this point.

According to this study … glycerine (the natural component of soap made from sponified or cold-pressed natural oils) is water soluble, has low potential for sorption to soil (meaning it biodegrades to water and does not accumulate in environment or organisms), and is considered "readily biodegradable in the aquatic environment. Pre-adapted micro-organisms can degrade glycerol rapidly under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions." In closed bottle tests, "92% biodegration was reported after 30 days."

If there are toxic components to a well made natural soap … they are more likely to be additives, coloring, stabilizers, BPA from plastic containers (unlikely if you bought your soap in Canada), stuff like that. I think it's primarily a courtesy to others to dispose of wastewater in a way that does not detract from the wilderness experience of others. As an environmental issue having to do with contamination of water sources, I think you probably do worse for the environment turning on your lights or sending an e-mail than you do washing your camp dishes with a drop or two of diluted and readily biodegradable glycerol. Unless someone else can prove me wrong (and I'm kind of hoping someone can)!

Perhaps making all natural soap is a trade we should know about as an important feature of bush craft?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 27th, 2010, 5:58 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
Posts: 8937
Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Quote:
It's not a question of saving the environment .. that can't be done because almost no property owners with homes and cottages on lakes and rivers will spend money for composting toilets, greywater holding tanks, etc


not true. Clearly you have never had the pleasure of being required to have a septic system with the leach field way up the hill because your house is on the lake..

But individuals do not make that choice most often because its the right thing to do..its because some government agency forces them to do so.

And so to composting toilets. The problem with them (at least ours) is its fussy and requires quite a bit of maintenance.


However lets get back to soap.

Seems like glycerol and campfire ashes would be a nice soap.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 10:33 am 
Offline

Joined: October 23rd, 2010, 10:39 am
Posts: 60
littleredcanoe wrote:
Quote:
It's not a question of saving the environment .. that can't be done because almost no property owners with homes and cottages on lakes and rivers will spend money for composting toilets, greywater holding tanks, etc


not true. Clearly you have never had the pleasure of being required to have a septic system with the leach field way up the hill because your house is on the lake..

But individuals do not make that choice most often because its the right thing to do..its because some government agency forces them to do so.

And so to composting toilets. The problem with them (at least ours) is its fussy and requires quite a bit of maintenance.


However lets get back to soap.

Seems like glycerol and campfire ashes would be a nice soap.


How deep is the soil up that hill? Running leach fields on top of the vegetation would be a simple solution as the vegetation would use the liquid to grow. And why use soap at all? Animals don't use it and they stay remarkably clean .. a chipmunk living in a hole in the ground is an obvious example, one of the cleanest-looking creatures on the planet. Water is a universal solvent. New skin growth will remove even the toughest stains in time .. but 'society' requires a shiny image.

_________________
I think, in general, outdoor enthusiasts on internet forums should spend more time on the water, in the water, around the water, etc.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 12:38 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
There does seem to be a bit of a backlash against soap and beauty product hype: see "The Great Unwashed".
Quote:
Defying a culture of clean that has prevailed at least since the 1940s, a contingent of renegades deliberately forgoes daily bathing and other gold standards of personal hygiene, like frequent shampooing and deodorant use.

To the converted, there are many reasons to cleanse less and smell more like yourself. “We don’t need to wash the way we did when we were farmers,” said Katherine Ashenburg, 65, the author of “The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History.” Since the advent of cars and labor-saving machines, she continued, “we have never needed to wash less, and we have never done it more.”

I'm actually a little surprised there is nobody here who "makes soap." I thought I was right on topic suggesting we should take it up as a lost bush craft … ranking up there with canning, dehydration, tarps, knots, birchbark boat construction, and more.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 3:01 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
Posts: 8937
Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Plenty of people around here can and make soap. I dont happen to be interested in either when I can buy the stuff.

Its a little bit of a search to buy pure soap. People really go for handmade soaps with a nice "natural" scent of something like beach, rose, lilac..etc. So enter the chemicals.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group