New Executive Order bans detergents and soaps with phosphates and updates vehicle importation restriction

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — In accordance with recently signed Executive Order 03-2012, the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (AS-EPA) is reminding and informing everyone especially business establishments, ocean and air freight forwarders, on the prohibition of imported soaps and detergents containing phosphates into the Territory.

Included in the Executive Order is the change on the importation requirement for vehicles.  The change prohibits all vehicles more than 10 years old from the current calendar date to be imported into the Territory.

According to AS-EPA Acting Director Faamao O. Asalele Jr., “This Executive Order is a reflection of the Honorable Governor Togiola T.A. Tulafono’s commitment in safeguarding our natural resources, public health, and the quality of life in American Samoa.  The Governor’s commitment is aligned with AS-EPA and USEPA mandates under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.”   

Phosphates are commonly found in detergents and soaps.  Detergents containing high levels of active phosphates can cause algae blooms that are linked to the destruction of our coral reefs.  Further, discharges from cesspools, laundromats, kitchen sinks, and showers with phosphates into our receiving waters degrade our water quality and also pose a contamination risk to our underground drinking water due to the increase of available nutrients.

Additionally, the previous requirement for imported vehicles prohibited vehicles model year 1999 and older from being imported into the Territory.  Under the newly signed Executive Order 03-2012, all imported vehicles cannot be more than 10 years old based on model year and the current calendar year.  For example, a vehicle with a model year of 2001 cannot be imported under the new Executive Order; whereas vehicle models 2002 and newer are allowable under the new Executive Order. This means that in 2013, only vehicles with a model year of 2003 or newer will be compliant.

AS-EPA will be working in partnership with the American Samoa Customs as well as the Coalition of Reef Lovers (CORL) and the Coral Reef Advisory Group to aid with the educational aspect of Section 4 (Prohibition of Phosphates in Detergents) per the EO.

AS-EPA received lab results from detergents and soaps sold and used in American Samoa exceeding the 0% phosphate threshold.  Therefore, under the new EO all soaps and detergents containing phosphate are prohibited from being imported into the Territory.  

Forthcoming will be a workshop, training, as well as a public awareness campaign to further educate everyone on information regarding the prohibition of phosphate in detergents and soaps, and the new requirement for imported vehicles in accordance with EO 03-2012.  For more information, please contact AS-EPA at 633-2304.

Source: AS-EPA media release


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