Some Mass. stores selling banned detergent with phosphates

Dishwasher detergents banned from store shelves in Massachusetts more than two years ago are still being sold in nine out of 10 retail stores in the Boston area, a leading consumer group in the state found.

The cleansers were banned under a local environmental law in 2008 because they contain phosphates, which can leak into waterways and deprive fish of oxygen. The regulation applies to household products with phosphorus, and specifically carried an exemption for dishwasher liquids, but that expired July 1.

"Stores had two and a half years to prepare for the ban, but somehow couldn't find the time to scrutinize their shelves to remove the now-illegal products," said Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org, a Boston-based education website. "This decision wasn't sprung on them over the weekend."

Dworsky noted that most of the household items to which the phosphate-free regulation applies, and which his group examined, were compliant. Nonetheless, he said it took him less than 10 minutes to identify that many stores were still carrying the banned products.