Detergent Industry's Landmark Voluntary Phosphate Ban Caps Seventh Generation's Decade-Long Fight

Seventh Generation and Clean Water Action Celebrate Historic Phosphate Ban in Automatic Dishwasher Detergents

BURLINGTON, VT--(Marketwire - June 29, 2010) -  On July 1, 2010, a voluntary ban on phosphates in household dishwasher detergents will be implemented in the United States by many members of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI, formerly the Soap and Detergent Association), a manufacturer's trade group representing most detergent companies. The decision signals a much-awaited victory for Seventh Generation, the nation's leading brand of chlorine-free and environmentally preferable home and personal care products, and a leader, along with environmental interest group Clean Water Action, in the fight to remove phosphates from household cleaning products. 

"If a negative environmental impact can be lessened or avoided, both industry and consumers have a responsibility to do so," said Martin Wolf, Seventh Generation's Scienceman and a leading authority on the environmental impact of household cleaning products. "This is a landmark moment, and as a company that's worked for years to make this desperately needed change a reality, we're celebrating a well-earned victory in the effort to build a healthier, cleaner world."

Contrary to popular belief, phosphate use is still legally permitted in dishwasher detergents, and phosphates may constitute as much as 24 percent of a product's formula. Dishwasher detergents contain levels of phosphorus as high as 8 percent, which translates to a phosphate level of 24 percent. Once phosphates are discharged into the environment, they promote algae growth in local waters. These sudden blooms of algae trigger a process called eutrophication in which local waters become starved of oxygen and devoid of life. This issue is of special concern to anyone living near a lake or pond. 

For a decade, Seventh Generation has taken the lead among businesses to ban phosphates, and lent its influence to ban phosphates in dishwasher detergents. The company, headquartered on the shores of Vermont's Lake Champlain, has provided hours of expert testimony and handed out samples of its no-phosphate formula as proof it could be done effectively. Seventh Generation also partnered with non-profit environmental organizations, such as Clean Water Action, working for meaningful change, and as a member of the ACI, has urged the change at industry meetings.

 "This is a very encouraging and gratifying step in the right direction," said Jon Scott, spokesperson for Clean Water Action. "Combined with previous legislative bans on phosphates in laundry detergent and 16 state bans of phosphates in dishwasher detergent, this change adds new momentum to U.S. water protection efforts by removing a significant source of phosphate pollution before it enters our water."

States that previously banned or improved regulation of phosphates in dishwasher detergent include Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, among others.

Seventh Generation is committed to being the most trusted brand of household and personal-care products for you and your living home. Our products are healthy and safe for the air, the surfaces, the fabrics, the pets, and the people within your home -- and for the community and environment outside of it. Seventh Generation also offers products for baby that are safe for your children and the planet.

For information on Seventh Generation cleaning, paper, baby and feminine personal care products, to find store locations, and explore the company's website visit To read more about Seventh Generation's corporate responsibility, visit the Corporate Consciousness Report at:

Clean Water Action is the nation's leading grassroots environmental organization, with more than 1 million members nationwide. For over thirty years, Clean Water Action has been a leader in protecting America's waters, the public health and empowering people to take charge of their environmental future.

Contact Information:

Meghan Butler
(802) 540-3519