Monday, April 20, 2009

Just Say No to Phosphates!

When I heard about people in Spokane County, Washington traveling out of state to purchase cleaning supplies, I wanted to know why. When I found why, I wasn't shocked, but I wanted to scream. I think you will understand what I mean after I tell you what is going on.

Since last year, Spokane County has had the nation's strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates. Traditional detergents contains about 9% phosphates while those sold in Spokane County can only contain 0.5%. People tried brands like Seventh Generation, Ecover, and Trader Joe's, but they found that they didn't cut the grease and that they left dishes encrusted with food. All of this caused residents to rewash dishes by hand and soon they had had enough. Their solution? Travel to Idaho to purchase Cascade or Electrasol! What residents soon learned was that the problem wasn't with the soap, it was with the hard water, which is mineral-rich and resistant to soap. But people didn't listen so the smuggling continues.

Most people are not afraid to tell others that they travel to Idaho to purchase dishwasher detergent. They refuse to live with dirty dishes - who can blame them? - but they are not addressing the real issue, which is the water, not the products. Mom uses Seventh Generation and Ecover, and has never had any issues with either product. We do not have hard water and that could be the reason, but I really think that people don't want to be told what to do. I don't really blame them, but the government is doing it for their own good - really.

The ban on phosphate laden detergents is a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. Phosphates may break down grease, but the chemicals in them are difficult to remove in wastewater treatment plants. So what happens then? The phosphates often wind up in rivers and lakes, where they promote the growth of algae - yuk! Algae gobble up all the oxygen in the water that the fish need to survive, so if there is a too much algae, there won't be any fish. If there aren't any fish, well you get the idea. It's a domino effect, but it can be control if everyone plays by the rules.

The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, this at the same time similar laws take effect in several other states like here in Illinois. A ban on Capitol Hill would impose a nationwide ban. Phosphates in laundry detergent have been banned nationally since 1993.

In the meantime, people continue to travel to Idaho and load up their cars with phosphates. They aren't really breaking any laws, since the ban applies only to the sale of phosphate detergents, not its use or possession. They aren't breaking the law, but they are hurting residents of the county that are doing the right thing. What one person does affects us all and that is just the fact. Please do your part and stop using cleaning products made with phosphates. The lakes, rivers, and streams thank you in advance, as Mother Earth breathes a sign of relief.


Sandra y Coco said...

hi Stubby, thank you so much for sharing important information with us. Mom is learning a lot with you. today she bought her first reusable bag at the supermarket - its super cool and it says earth day in there. all my carrots, her bananas and the rest of the food she bought fit right in! I promise I will ask her to follow your example more often.

Stubby said...

Hi Coco - YEAH to your mom for buying her first reusable bag! I'm sure it will be the first of many and soon she will wonder how she ever lived without them. Just remind her to keep them in the car, where she can see them so she doesn't forget to take them in the store.
I'm glad your mom is learning so much from my blog because it means that I am doing a good job.
Stubby xoxo

Salinger The Pug said...

Kiss your mom for us and thank her for sharing this stuff. It makes my mom want to be a better hooman.

BTW, the jackleg at WallyMart messed up again and mom LET HER HAVE IT! We brought all of our own bags (like a dozen of them) and the dumb lady stuck our rotisserie chicken in EIGHT layered up bags (mom counted). She went to the service desk and complained and then stuck the bags in their box of "recycle here" bags.

Mom doesn't think the slack jawed people behind the counter understood what she was all fired up about, but at least she has inner peace having made a production about it.

Have a good night buddy!

Stubby said...

Salinger - Hooray for your mom for giving them a piece of her mind! She was doing the right thing by bringing her own bags and then whammo, they screw up again. Inner peace is what matters and your mom has that. Wallymart is not a good place, is it?
Extra kisses for Mom from you will make her day/night. She loves you little buddy - that pug mug is too cute!
Stubby xoxo

Salinger The Pug said...

Oh...AND she just wrote them an angry email and fired it off to them!

Hahaha...that ought to fix their little red wagon (not!)

Do you guys watch "Living With Ed"? I like to curl up with mom when she watches it and feels bad at how mean that man's wife is to him!

Stubby said...

Salinger - Mom has seen "Living with Ed" and wishes they would shoot some new episodes. Ed is mean to his wife, but the wife is a little flaky, don't you think? Poor Ed just wants his wife to get with the program!
Stubby xoxo