Phosphorus leaked into European lakes, streams and rivers can lead to eutrophication – the overgrowth of algae that can starve fish and other plant life of oxygen. Phosphorus gets into groundwater mainly from fertilisers or animal and human waste, but phosphorus also makes up 25% of current domestic wastewater.
The phosphorus used in household detergents, and fed directly into water supplies, is one source of eutrophication that is relatively easy and inexpensive to address in household cleaning detergents, as effective substitutes for cleaning and softening water already exist on the market. Bill Newton Dunn MEP is currently steering legislation through the European Parliament that would include banning phosphates and other phosphorus elements from dishwasher and household laundry detergents.
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