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Deal on cutting phosphorus out of detergents

November 16, 2011 10:58 AM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

A provisional agreement has been reached to tightly restict water-polluting phosphorus in household washing machine and dishwasher detergents. A proposed compromise was approved earlier today by Coreper (the committee of Member States' permanent representatives to the EU).

The provisional agreement includes the European Parliament's proposal to include restrictions on phosphates in dishwasher detergents, which was not in the initial Commission proposal. It will require the formal approval of the European Parliament plenary (vote expected 13-15 December) and Council.

The regulation aims to reduce the level of phosphorus in EU waste water in order to prevent 'eutrophication' - harmful overgrowth of algae in streams and lakes - and to harmonise rules across the EU's internal market.

The European Parliament rapporteur Bill Newton Dunn (ALDE,UK) said:

"Today's news that member states have accepted to extend the restriction on phosphorus to consumer automatic dishwasher detergents is a triumph. As a consumer, I would like to choose the least harmful products where possible. Ensuring that in the future all detergents on supermarket shelves will contain only tiny amounts of phosphorus is one way to help achieve this goal."