Have you heard about phosphates? They’re the chemicals that are often used in products like laundry detergents, to help soften hard water and keep dirt in your washer rather than on your clothes. But in recent years, they’ve come under scrutiny, and more and more countries are trying to cut down on their use.

What’s Wrong with Phosphates?

Phosphates are natural fertilizers. When they enter a waterway, they can promote excessive plant growth and decay, which causes water quality to deteriorate and suffocates aquatic life.

Runoff from farms and lawns fertilized with phosphates is the largest contributor to phosphate pollution in waterways. And while pollution from detergents is comparatively small, companies committed to environmentally friendly products are doing what they can to alleviate it.

Banning Phosphates In Some Parts of the World

In fact, regulators in many countries have established a ban on the use of phosphates.

In regions of the world where phosphates are allowed, most retail laundry brands still sell formulas that contain them. But others have been committed to marketing phosphate-free detergents around the world for many years.

Look to supporting phosphate-free laundry detergent and other eco-friendly cleaning products this year.