Washington and Oregon ready to ban phosphates in dish soap - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington and Oregon ready to ban phosphates in dish soap

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Kennewick, WA-If your dishwasher detergent contains phosphates, it's time to clean up your act.

Effective Thursday, Washington and Oregon will ban the sale of phosphate-laden dishwasher detergents.

Manufacturers put phosphates in detergent because phosphates cut through hard water, allowing the cleaning agents to do their job. Even in soft water, phosphates are needed to bust through the calcium and magnesium ions in dirt.

However, studies have shown when  phosphates get into in lakes and streams, water quality suffers, and phosphates can kill fish by wearing down gills. High levels of phosphates can also kill fish eggs.

As of Thursday, it will be illegal for retailers to sell dishwasher detergents containing more than five tenths of one percent phosphorus by weight. 

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