COLUMBIA — A new South Carolina law banning phosphate-laden dishwasher detergent is meant to dramatically reduce phosphates going down the drain.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law this week a measure banning the sale, use and distribution of household dishwasher detergent greater than 0.5 percent phosphorous. State law already limits phosphates in laundry detergents and other cleaners.

Experts say phosphates cause algae blooms that can use up oxygen in the water, killing fish and irritating the eyes, throat and skin of people on the water for recreation.

Supporters included both environmentalists and wastewater treatment plant operators. They say the ban is an easier, less expensive way to keep excess phosphorous out of waterways than leaving it to wastewater treatment plants.

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The law allows stores to sell its stock as of July 1.