Minnesota would become the first state in the U.S. to effectively ban phosphorus in automatic-dishwashing detergent if a bill working its way through the state legislature gets the eventual thumbs-up. Phosphorus, which helps to remove those oh-so-unsightly spots from glasses and dishware, ultimately gets flushed out of homes and into lakes and streams, where it contributes to algae blooms and clogged waterways. The bill now under consideration would make it illegal to sell detergents with a phosphorus content higher than 0.5 percent by weight; the current limit is 11 percent and most dishwasher detergents contain 6 to 8 percent phosphorus. No surprise that industry heavies such as Procter & Gamble are expected to make a big stink about the measure and mount a campaign to defeat it. In another trend-setting move, Minnesota last year began to clamp down on the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers.
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