Found in: dishwasher detergents, laundry detergents, and bathroom cleaners.
Health Risks: Function as a fertilizer in water. High concentrations of phosphates in bodies of water can promote harmful algal blooms and increase weed growth. This can cause oxygen levels in the water to decline, potentially killing fish. Excess algal growth a can also plug filtration devices at water treatment facilities and affect the taste and odor of the water, resulting increased costs of water purification. Certain algae blooms produce chemicals that are toxic to animals and people who drink the water. New regulations took effect in 2010 that limit phosphorus concentration in household cleaning products to 0.5 per cent — a big improvement. But why not opt for phosphate-free brands?