Antonio Tajani, the industrial commissioner and vice president of the European Commission, said he was proposing a ban on the use of phosphates and phosphate-containing compounds in laundry detergents in the EU.
Tajani’s statement established that “the commission’s proposal to ban phosphates in laundry detergents will ensure that European citizens benefit from an increased water quality of their lakes, rivers and marine waters while keeping European companies at the forefront of this sector”.
The innovation is that although most member states have their own regulations on phosphates, Tajani’s measure entails EU-wide legislation. But the draft regulation doesn’t include phosphates used in detergents for automatic dishwashers.
Phosphates discharged into waters create algae blooms, or eutrophication, that could deplete oxygen levels. Eutrophication generally promotes excessive plant growth and decay, favors certain weedy species over others, and is likely to cause severe reductions in water quality. Detergents are the third-greatest source of phosphates after agriculture and sewage. “It is in the interest of the European Union and of its neighboring countries that EU water quality is as high as possible and that eutrophication is avoided,” the commission said.
[Published on November 2010]