Phosphate ban in household dishwashing detergents

6 Jul 2010

While most of us have heard that Michigan banned texting while driving last week, very few of us are aware that Michigan also banned phosphorus (at least any more than .5%) from products for use in household clothes washing machines or household dishwashers and reduced the amount for non-household use.  Reportedly 15 other states did likewise. Michigan has banned phosphorus from household clothes washing soaps since 2009.

The reason for the change is that it is difficult for wastewater treatment plants to remove  phosphorus and when wastewater enters a river, lake or stream, it provides tremendous food for algae. As bacteria feast on the dead plants and algae, they reduce the amount of oxygen available in the water for other wildlife.As a result, algae has blossomed  throughout the State.  Reportedly dishwashing soaps contribute over 10% of the phosphorus out in the water cycle. Unfortunately, phosphorus helps to make these detergents more effective and so your dishes might not be quite as clean as they once were.

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