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Soap Scofflaws

Apr 7, 2009

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Sarah Handel

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Canadian pharmacies lure Americans with their cheap prices, Marylanders cross the border into DC for discounted liquor, athletes head to Mexico for steroids. And folks from Washington state? They motor to Idaho for... Soap. From the Los Angeles Times:

Retailers in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, say the sight of apologetic but defiant Washingtonians loading their carts with dishwasher detergent is becoming increasingly common. "We go, 'Are you coming from Spokane?' And they kind of chuckle and say, 'Yeah,' " said Donna Wilkinson, an assistant manager at Costco.

Why? Well, last July, Spokane County "adopted a near total ban on sales of water-softening phosphates in dishwasher detergent... in an attempt to slow the flood of pollutants that is sucking oxygen out of the endangered Spokane River." Sounds like a decent idea. Don't want the fish to suffocate, or foam to gather on the banks, right? But while the river may be getting cleaner, dishes in Spokane households are filthy. In the words of working mom Patti Marcotte,

"With the 'green' stuff, the dishes come out with a real slippery texture — like somebody poured a cup of grease in some dishwater — and a white film. Just really gross. And then the food gunk just mixes around the dishwasher and when it stops, it just settles on whatever's there. I mean, it's bad."


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