Science Play

Science Play
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  • Can I see?
  • Hassan, did you finish cleaning out the cabinet? I want to put the newcleaning supplies there when you’re done.
  • The people who lived here before sure left a lot behind. You’d think theywere running a chemical factory. What is it?
  • I really can’t tell. Most of the jars don’t have labels, or the labels are so faded I can’t read them. This jar is filled with an oily mess with pieces of metal and something else in it.
  • Almost. I found this jar filled with oily stuff. I have no idea what it is. 
  • Some household products can be very reactive, toxic, or flammable. Atthe hospital, I work with other department heads to be sure we make gooddecisions about the hazardous products we use.
  • Why don’t you just dump it down the drain?
  • Be careful! It might be dangerous. How do you think I should get rid of it?
  • All those chemicals dumped down the drain build up. Imagine all thehomes around the world over 20 years—that’s a lot of cleaning suppliesin the water systems. These chemicals can do long-term harm to animals,organisms, and habitats.
  • That’s what I think. I always wash everything down the sink, or throw it inthe garbage. They treat wastewater don’t they? And the garbage is taken toa dump, so what’s the harm in that? 
  • Why would a store sell cleaning products if they’re harmful? They’re beingdiluted with water when you put them down the drain. Doesn’t that takeaway any hazard?
  • But what if it’s hazardous? We learned at school that a lot of the things we buy to clean our homes and take care of our gardens contain chemicals that are bad for us and the environment.
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