According to a law recently passed by the Quebec government, selling dishwashing detergents containing more than 0.5% phosphates will be outlawed in 2010. Phosphates are a main cause of the blue green algae contaminating a growing number of Quebec lakes.

The Jean Coutu chain of pharmacies isn’t waiting. It will voluntarily stop selling dishwashing detergents that contain phosphates after its current inventory is exhausted. Mathieu Vermette, a clerk at a Longueuil branch, says that the dishwashing liquids containing phosphates are being sold but not reordered. These detergents are being replaced by detergents from companies like Bio-Vert and Bio-Spectra.

The hope is that more companies will decide to take phosphates out of their detergents before the law comes into effect in 2010, so that our lakes can be cleaner sooner.