Phosphates are essential nutrients for plant growth and a healthy ecosystem. Phosphates were common cleaning ingredients in laundry and dish detergents. They help other cleaning agents in the detergent work better across the broad range of laundry soils and water hardness found around the world. While phosphate is naturally present in the environment, it also comes from foods, agricultural run-off, and cleaning products after their use. Phosphate use has raised questions when excessive amounts have been released in the environment from one of these sources without adequate wastewater treatment, resulting in algal blooms in specific situations. A series of product innovations now allow us to produce effective, phosphate-free cleaning products without a compromise in cleaning performance.

Being safe

Scientific experts acknowledge that under typical use conditions, the presence of phosphate in the environment does not lead to adverse environmental effects because it is well removed in sewage treatment operations and aquatic organisms and plants absorb it as a nutrient. Regulations that consider all sources of phosphate (food, agriculture, and cleaning products) have helped address concerns and improve the environment in areas where phosphate uses had resulted in local adverse environmental impacts.

P&G products are safe for the environment, including detergents that contain phosphates as well as the products in which phosphate has been replaced.

Feeling safe

P&G has been working for many years to develop new ingredients as replacements for phosphates to improve product performance across all water types. These new technologies have allowed us to remove phosphates without a compromise in cleaning performance. We have replaced phosphates in over 95% of our cleaning products already. We will be finished with our conversion of global laundry products by 2016, and are committed to eliminate all remaining phosphate use in the coming years.