I have written about phosphate free soaps before. In July of 2008, Spokane County in Washington state put a ban on soaps containing more than 0.5 percent phosphate. This is the main ingredient in many cleaners and detergents. It is what makes your dishes especially clean from grease and stains. The problem with it is that it is a chemical that is hard to treat and get back out of the water supply. It winds up in lakes, rivers and even back in our own drinking water. It also promotes the growth of algae in the water which in turn consumes the oxygen that fish need.
In short, we harm the very waters that we rely upon for survival. This in turn harms the fish we eat. All in order to have cleaner dishes without scrubbing or doing any work ourselves.
The alternative soaps like Seventh Generation, Ecover and others are said by some to not clean your dishes as well. I use Seventh Generation, Ecover and Trader Joes brands myself and do not notice any problems. Those that are not happy with them are instead heading out of the state to nearby Idaho to buy their Electrasols and Cascade and others which have up to nine percent phosphates. This ban will expand to statewide in 2010.
This is just one part of a larger problem that I'm trying not to rant too much about. As more people inhabit this planet and consume all kinds of crap, it all winds up back in our drinking water. A recent test of five major cities again showed that our water is filled with all kinds or prescription drugs. Whether we like it or not, if you live in a large city, you're getting anti-depressants, stimulants, and everything else on the pharmacy shelf in some quantity. Remember the scenes in moves when criminals flush drugs down the toilets? That's coming back to all of us. Our infants to grand parents are drinking Viagra. You might say you buy bottled water? Bottle water is not magical. It still comes from this planet and the ground that we pollute in increasing amounts. Water filtration can not yet take this stuff out so it winds up in those as well in some small amount.
Which do you choose? More sparkling dishes or your future health and the planet?