My wife has been complaining about the cruddy job our Bosch dishwasher has been doing lately. More often than not, she has had to hand wash dishes after they came out of the dishwasher to remove a nasty and persistent film. She was on the verge of calling the dishwasher repair person when I chanced upon this article at the Tampa Tribune online site, TBO.Com.

It seems the EPA and states decided that phosphates had to be removed from dishwasher detergents because:

every load of dishes also poured phosphates into the drain water, ultimately reaching lakes and oceans and encouraging huge algae blooms that plagued sea life

Dishwashers’ contribution to the problem is minimal:

Agriculture, construction and water treatment centers are the biggest users of phosphates. While Cascade officials say dishwashing represents just 3 percent of the phosphate in the environment, “Cascade is doing its part,” and removing it.

There are costs associated with this EPA mandated ban that the EPA likely never considered. Let’s start with this problem:

That white film on dishes is mainly made up of magnesium, calcium and aluminum – the elements that help make water “hard.” The stains don’t easily rub off, even with soap.

While those minerals are common in many foods, Cascade officials published an online FAQ about the problem and said “we always recommend that consumers wash any residue on dishes before using them again.” In other words, rewash the dishes you just washed.

Manually rewashing dishes requires more water, more energy to heat the water, and more detergent waste entering the environment. It gets worse:

Over time, that gunk can build up in dishwashers, DiChristopher said, clogging motors, sprayers and bearings. Given enough time, a dishwasher can become useless.

Manufacturing a dishwasher consumes energy, raw materials and labor. If dishwashers break-down prematurely, consumers pay more and the environment suffers more. But the Ivy-League educated bureaucrats and pseudo-scientists that infest the EPA have a higher purpose; they can ban something and feel good about themselves. They can pat themselves on the back and say “I helped save the environment”. That’s crap but they are too stupid to understand that.

Consumers are smart, though. They soon figured out that commercial enterprises are exempt, and restaurant suppliers sell the good old phosphate laden stuff in bulk.