Controversial LCA study backs phosphate-based detergents

The recent trend to replace phosphate in detergents with zeolite builders offers no environmental advantages, according to a life-cycle assessment (LCA) sponsored by phosphate producer Albright & Wilson.1 The study uses a novel technique based on scientific consensus to aggregate the environmental impacts to different media. But many foundations of the assessment are highly contentious - and its conclusions must be treated with caution, especially if used to lobby for changes in policy.

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