Bill would prohibit sale of phosphorus detergents

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All dishwashing detergent sold in Vermont may have to be made without phosphorous within about four years. The state Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill on Wednesday that would ban all but trace amounts of phosphorous in dishwashing soap. The ban would take effect on April 1, 2008.

Phosphorous helps to encourage toxic algae blooms in places like Lake Champlain. State government banned phosphorous in many products, including laundry detergent, in the 1970s. But dishwashing detergent was exempted in part because there were fewer dishwashers in use then and partly because phosphorous is effective in cleaning dishes.

The proposed ban wouldn’t take effect for four years to give time for alternatives to be developed.

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