This coming July sixteen states will be enacting a total phosphate ban on auto dishwashing detergents. The bill is primarily targeted at auto dish detergent products, since the last legislation in the 1970’s specifically targeted phosphates in laundry detergents. The Soap and Detergent Association, an industry-lobbying group, provided a synopsis of the legislative activity around this ban. The majority of states that participated in banning phosphates passed legislation in 2007, and provided industry with three years to find an alternative. The sixteen states that passed this legislation are: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The only state that vetoed a total ban on phosphates was California; the Governor vetoed the bill. All states have an effective date of July 1, 2010 for a reduction in the use of phosphorus in household automatic dishwashing detergents to a maximum of 0.5% by weight. Unfortunately, the ban does not extend to commercial dishwashing applications. This means that every hospital, industrial complex, restaurant, school, or public facility can continue to use auto dish detergents with phosphates. Phosphates can cause algae blooms in our waterways, which depletes the oxygen available to aquatic wildlife. There are a few companies right now that are making a phosphate free auto dish detergent, including Earth Friendly Products. Earth Friendly Products Wave, was the first neutral ph phosphate free product in the market place, and has a patent pending on it. Phosphate based products found in the market place include Cascade and Eletrosol. State governments really need to push the envelope here and provide their citizens with a total phosphate ban. Leaving out commercial use of phosphates is not the right thing to do. Why should industry be exempted from participating in environmental stewardship? Why does our government allow it? This ban is a partial ban, and one that needs to become a full ban. Now, we only need to get the other 34 states to participate.
Photo: Algae Bloom Photo Courtesy: Water Encyclopedia