Dishwasher Detergents Hustle to Be Free of Phosphates

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (UPI) — Dishwasher detergent manufacturers are scrambling to eliminate phosphates in compliance with states’ bans, an industry spokeswoman said.

Sixteen states have passed laws banning the sale of detergents with phosphates for home dishwashers as of July 1, 2010, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Sunday.

Phosphates have been blamed for excess algae growth in rivers and streams and was eliminated years ago from most laundry detergents. The Soap and Detergent Association, a Washington, D.C., an industry group, says most of the phosphates in the environment today come from sources other than dishwashing detergents, such as farm runoff.

In the 1990s, European and American companies tired to develop non-phosphate detergents. “Mainstream consumers walked away from it,” said Dennis Griesing, vice president of government affairs for the Soap and Detergent Association.

Griesing said because dishwashers do not have an agitator to assist the soap by shaking things up, it’s harder to replace phosphates for dishwashers than it was for clothes washers.

Although bans have not passed in all 50 states, most Americans will be affected, as detergent makers supplying nationwide chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and Kroger will not go to the trouble of making different formulas for stores in different states, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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