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Higgins Commends Action Limiting Phosphorus

Jul 1, 2010
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) is encouraged to see state legislation move forward limiting phosphorus in household products as a means to protect New York’s fresh water.    The Congressman previously introduced similar legislation, HR 2775, in the House of Representatives.

“One of our greatest regional assets is our proximity to fresh water,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Caucus.  “It is in our best interest from an environmental and economic perspective to do all we can to keep Lake Erie, Chautauqua Lake and all of our local waterways clean, safe and pleasant.  This is one great step in that direction.”

A8914B/ S3780B, an act to amend the environmental conservation law and the agriculture and markets law, in relation to phosphorus in household cleansing products and lawn fertilizer, passed in the State Senate on June 25, moved through the Assembly on June 30 and is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Many popular name brand powder and liquid dishwasher detergents contain between 6.4% and 1.6% phosphates.  When discharged into waterways phosphorus causes excessive growth of weeds and algae which rob the water of oxygen that fish need to survive, limit recreational use of waterways and create foul odors. Several states, including Washington, Maryland, Vermont, Minnesota and Illinois have already enacted local legislation which either bans or allows only trace amounts of phosphorus in dishwashing soap.