Washington state will soon begin phasing in a ban on some big-name dishwater detergents because they contain too much phosphorus, the Bellingham Herald reports. Detergents such as Cascade and Electrasol, which contain more than 0.5% phosphorous, will be banned in Whatcom and Spokane counties July 1 and in the rest of the state in 2010. State officials say phosphorus runoff is polluting local water bodies.
The runoff fuels algae blooms that use up oxygen in the water and leave lakes and ponds depleted. This can suffocate salmon and other aquatic life. The ban will apply only to individual homes, not to restaurants or industries, the Herald notes. Stores are stocking up on low-phosphorous alternatives, which are generally more expensive.