BREMERTON - Washington and Oregon are banning the sale of phosphate-laden dishwasher detergent starting Thursday.
Familiar brands are still available but they will have lower levels of phosphates.
Phosphates are known to promote plant growth and may degrade water quality in lakes and streams.
“It’s more effective and less expensive to decrease what goes down the drain than it is to treat it at the plant. This way, we’re all part of the solution,” said Washington Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, told the Kitsap Sun. Ormsby sponsored the 2006 bill to limit phosphates in dishwasher detergents.
The ban has already been in place in Spokane and Whatcom counties in Washington state since 2008. The Oregon Legislature passed a law in 2009 that lowered the phosphorous limit for automatic dishwasher detergents from 8.7 percent to 0.5 percent.
Dennis Griesing, vice president of government affairs for the American Cleaning Institute, said low-phosphate formulas available in 2008 did not work as well in hard water, so some shoppers in Spokane had been crossing into Idaho to buy dishwasher soap with phosphates.
But there are new detergents on the market, and they’re getting better reviews.
In Western Washington, where there is softer water, people seem satisfied with the new formulas.
Starting July 1, it will be illegal for retailers in Washington and Oregon to sell dishwasher detergents containing more than 0.5 percent phosphorus by weight. The new phosphate limit does not apply to commercial dishwasher products.