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Phosphorus is out: fertilizer first, dishsoap next

The head of the state Assembly's Natural Resources Committee says his battle against phosphorus is not over.

Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill on Tuesday that bans the sale of most lawn fertilizers that contain phosphorus.

Now, Democrat Spencer Black of Madison says you can expect a bill banning the chemical from dishwashing detergents.

Washington State just approved that kind of a ban. And recent news stories told how folks in Spokane traveled to nearby Idaho to load up on dishwashing liquid, because the stuff sold at home wasn't getting the dishes clean.

Black doesn't buy it.

He said it reminded him of 1983 when he was in the Sierra Club and that group won a tough legislative battle to ban phosphorus from laundry detergents.

He said people were worried about ring-around-the-collar back then. But Black said it was much ado about nothing, and it's much more important to clean up the algae in Wisconsin lakes that's caused by phosphorus.

The ban for lawn fertilizers was passed unanimously. It takes effect in a year.