Wisconsin May Ban Dishwasher Detergent with Phosphorus

Another state – Wisconsin (where I live) is now pushing some legislation through to ban phosphorus in dishwasher detergent:

Assembly advances ban on dishwasher soap with phosphorus (www.jsonline.com)

Household dishwasher detergent that contains phosphorus would be banned Wisconsin, under a bill that is poised to pass the Assembly.

“Excess phosphorus leads to weed and algae growth that’s degrading the quality of our lakes and streams,” bill author Rep. Spencer Black (D-Madison) said Tuesday. “People don’t come to enjoy our lakes and rivers if they’re fouled with weeds and algae.”

If this would pass and become law, then it would take effect in just one year – July 2010.

Apparently one reason for doing this is to join the bandwagon of other states that have similar bans on phosphate in dishwasher detergent. Opponents of this bill see this as just another way that the government has control over what people buy for cleaning their dishes. Phosphate free dishwasher detergent is notorious for not cleaning dishes very well and some argue that since people have to wash their dishes several times, this kind of legislation actually makes things worse in terms of water consumption.

There are a lot of lakes in Wisconsin – about 15,000. The Capitol city of Wisconsin, Madison, has 4 lakes in the middle of it: Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa and Lake Wingra. Algae growth on those lakes has been a problem for a number of years.


  1. My frustrated uncle has formulated a commercial dishwasher detergent with 8.7% phosphate that works wonders in residential under-counter machines. His extended family has been “forced” to use it for months now and all of us are blown away by how clean and shiny the dishes have become. It will be available online the end of October 2011 at http://www.bubblebandit.com and Amazon.com. His opinion is that the government should take care of our real pressing problems and leave our dishes alone.

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