Why is it Nasty?
Phosphates are found throughout nature and have a variety of functions depending on their chemical structure. They are widely used in commercial products for their ability to capture metal ions, softening the water. However, phosphates are very toxic to aquatic ecosystems. They can dramatically increase algae populations, which disrupts the aquatic ecosystem in many ways, killing fish and other aquatic organisms. Many states have banned or restricted the use of phosphates. Since phosphates are washed directly down the drain, it’s important to choose phosphate-free products to maintain the health of aquatic ecosystems.
What is it?
Most phosphates are easy to identify by the word “phosphate” in their chemical name, such as tetrasodium pyrophosphate.