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Washington, Oregon Dishwashers To Go On Low-Phosphate Diets

Grocery stores in the Northwest are stocking their shelves with new low-phosphate dishwasher detergents.

That's in anticipation of new laws that will take effect in Washington and Oregon. The aim is to reduce water pollution. Correspondent Doug Nadvornick reports.

On July 1st, 16 states will begin enforcing laws that require dishwasher detergents to be almost phosphate-free.

Phosphorus is the fuel that feeds algae that plug up waterways and kill other aquatic life.

For the last two years, the law has applied to people in two Washington counties that surround Spokane and Bellingham.

Sandy Howard from the Department of Ecology says, next month, Washington's law will extend to people in the rest of the state.

Sandy Howard: "Washington state was the very first state in the nation to pass this law and after that happened, there was like a domino effect. Fifteen other states also passed some of the same legislation."

One of those states is Oregon. Idaho is not limiting phosphorus in dishwasher detergent.

Some shoppers in Spokane have bucked the requirement by crossing the border to get the soap they want.