The experts at Earth Friendly Products, a Winnetka, IL-based manufacturer of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, want to remind mainstream and organic consumers why phosphate-free cleaning products are so important to our environment.

“Phosphates found in cleaning products have been found to be one of the most damaging pollutants to waterways,” the company notes. “When phosphates end up in our lakes and rivers, they accelerate plant and algae growth. When the plants and algae die, the bacteria residue consumes the oxygen, leaving less for fish and aquatic life which need the oxygen to survive. If the government steps in to clean the waterways, the costs will most likely be passed on to the taxpayers.”

The solution to this problem is simple and cost-effective: Buy phosphate-free cleaning agents.

“The EPA estimates that nearly $1 trillion is needed in critical drinking-water and wastewater investments over the next two decades,” according to an Earth Friendly Products press statement. “The Chesapeake Bay alone could incur up to a $3 million capital project to remove the chemicals if people don’t do their share to bring the levels of phosphates down. Whatcom and Spokane Counties in Washington State have already taken action, preventing residents from purchasing cleaning products containing .5% or more of phosphates by weight. According to the Washington State Lake Protection Association, beginning July 1, 2008, in counties located east of the Cascade Mountains with populations greater than 400,000, a person may not sell or distribute for sale a dishwashing detergent that contains a certain amount of phosphates. Other states, including Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota and Vermont, plan on following this endeavor, with their statewide bans going into effect July 2010.”

Earth Friendly Products are available at Jewel, Whole Foods Market, Costco, Thriftway, Ralphs, Albertsons and other nationwide retailers.