Phosphates are commonly found in household detergents, such as Dishwashing Detergent. While safe for human consumption, phosphates have recently been found to pose risks to aquatic life. As a result, the public has pressured companies to remove phosphates from their products.
Cascade Dishwasher Detergent originally contained phosphates, but they were removed from the formula in 2013. No Cascade products contain phosphates today.
What are Phosphates in Dish Detergent?
Phosphates are a class of chemical compounds in which at least one of the atoms is phosphorous. These are further grouped by the number of phosphorous atoms in the molecule. Household cleaners such as Dish Detergent contain a type of phosphate known as Orthophosphates which only has one phosphorous atom per molecule. This type of phosphate is a buffering agent, which polishes surfaces like dishes to make them shine.
Do Phosphates Have an Impact on Our Environment?
Phosphates became so widespread in products due to their effectiveness and safety for humans. Unfortunately, it took many years before we discovered that too many phosphates have a negative impact on the environment even if they do not harm humans directly.
The main risk of phosphates is that they are not removed easily from the water, subsequently building up in rivers and lakes. Here, they act as an overload of nutrients for algae and contribute to harmful algae blooms. These algae blooms can make animals like wildlife, people, and domestic animals sick.
No, Cascade Platinum does not contain phosphates. Instead, quick drying and silicate (sand) are used to promote shine.
Luckily, Cascade Complete gets its increased cleaning power from enzymes to help break down food, not phosphates.
Surprisingly, despite the product being specifically designed as a buffing agent to make your dishes shine, Cascade Power Dry Rinse Aid does not contain phosphates. Instead, it relies on sulfate compounds to keep hard water from leaving residue on your dishes.
When Did Cascade Detergent Remove Phosphates from their Products?
Cascade began to phase out the use of phosphates in 2010 when some states began to place restrictions on phosphate use. By 2015, all Cascade products were free of phosphates. The parent company of Cascade (Proctor and Gamble) continues to have phosphates in about 5% of their products.
Do Any Competitors Still Have Phosphates inside their Dish Detergents?
There are very limited amounts of phosphate-containing dish detergents on the market. The brand’s Finish, Bubble Bandit, and Diversey Mr. still contain phosphates. These may be difficult to find based on where you live – many places have already banned or heavily regulated phosphates.
Read Related: Is Finish Dishwasher Detergent Phosphate Free?
Phosphates aren’t a direct risk to humans or wildlife. However, they can contribute to harmful phenomenon in our environment like algae blooms. For this reason, many governments have encouraged companies to find alternatives in their products. Very few dishwasher detergents still contain phosphates, and none of Cascade’s products use phosphates.