Some dishwasher detergents banned in Washington state

Filed under: In The News, Going Green, Chores

What are the two chores in a household that are never really finished? Dishes and laundry. Throw in a couple of kids and suddenly a dishwasher becomes very, very important. (Or is it just me?) Families in the Washington counties of Whatcom and Spokane might find themselves having to choose a new brand of dishwasher detergent next week, however. The state is banning any brand that contains more than 0.5 percent phosphorus.

Phosphates are naturally occurring, but are also used in many kinds of detergents. They're linked to algae blooms, which upset the delicate balance of a healthy waterway. By banning these kinds of consumer products, Washington state officials hope to protect their state's environment. By 2010, the ban will include the whole state, though for now it only affects these two counties.

Fortunately for consumers, there are several brands out there that are phosphate-free and also do a good job cleaning dishes. Consumer Reports recently recommended the following brands: Ecover (tablet and powder), Citra-Dish, 365 Everyday Value, and Seventh Generation, and as this issue gains awareness, I'm sure many more brands will be hitting the shelves.

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