Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On Cleaning Libraries, Water Tanks & Cash Register Receipts

Lots of good vibes at the Wellfleet transfer station, as well as at the Truro dump, where I took the above photo. Cape Codders embrace recycling in a big way. Sven always finds great reading material at the transfer station.

“I’m cleaning out my library and will bring some back,” my husband declares as he goes out the Swap Shop door, several used books in hand, adding, “I promise!”

With a shrug, I glance around. Books are almost sacred at Chez Sven. “Cleaning out his library” usually never happens.

A plastic bottle on the shelf catches my eye. EZ RV Drinking Water Freshener. Hmmm. Wonder what’s in this little number? I read further and learn it’s chlorine-free. That’s good. Yesterday I blogged about Charles Duhigg’s warning of the danger of too much chlorine in city tap water.

“EZ RV Drinking Water Freshener is a special formulation that will eliminate odors and restore fresh taste to drinking water stored in supply tanks. No pre-cleaning or tank rinsing is required. Just pour in and enjoy fresh-tasting water in minutes. Safe to use in all types of supply tanks (plastic, metal, fiberglass.) It is environmentally safe and 100% biodegradable.”

At the bottom there’s another note: "CAUTION! KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN! Avoid contact of undiluted product with eyes, skin or clothing. For eyes, flush with plenty of water and contact physician. For skin and clothing, wash thoroughly with soap and water. If ingested, drink large amounts of water and seek medical attention.”

Whew! Powerful stuff. The label does not give any clue as to what is actually in the bottle. I unscrew the top and sniff a white powder, the consistency of baking soda. No odor. Next I Google Applied Biochemists in San Diego, which makes EZ RV Drinking Water Freshener. Ah-ha! Product Info is an option, so I click through. Nope. No description. But, there’s a phone number. (We have August regulars who have taught me to always, always check ingredients, since their daughter is allergic to peanuts and syrup that turns up in everything: high-fructose-corn.)

“Do you have allergies?” asks Donna, in her friendly customer-service voice.

“No, I just like to know what’s in my water,” I say, conjuring up an RV in my living room, with moldy water tank lid open.

“It’s a peroxide-based product, basically baking soda.”

When I ask for more precision, Donna offers to call back.

“Sodium percarbonate,” she warbles five minutes later.

I thank her and Google sodium percarbonate where I learn the product has an identical makeup to OxiClean, ie. eco-friendly bleach. I’m glad we don’t have to put OxiClean in the water we drink at Chez Sven! This sleuthing has made me wonder what is in our drinking water. Every bed & breakfast must test water for nitrates every year. What if I tested our well water for other substances as well? I’ve learned you can never be too careful. Carcinogens are turning up in the strangest places. The latest news reports BPA on cash register and credit card receipts. The BPA can come off on your fingers, apparently. Not good!