European Union: Regulation Limiting Phosphate Use in Detergents

On 10 February 2012, the EU Council adopted formally a regulation that restricts the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in consumer laundry and automatic dishwasher detergents. The regulation is the result of a compromise worked out by the European Parliament and Council, on 9 November 2011, and endorsed by the EP, on 14 December. For consumer laundry detergents, the new limit value is set at 0.5 grams of phosphorus per washing process. It will be applicable from 30 June 2013. The scope of the regulation also includes detergents used in public laundrettes. The regulation also covers detergents for automatic dishwashers, for which the limit value of 0.3 grams of phosphorus in a standard dosage will apply from 1 January 2017. The regulation is limited to domestic washing machines and dishwashers. Industrial detergents and equipment are not included because technically and economically feasible alternatives to the use of phosphates do not currently exist.

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