Ban on phosphates makes sense to protect environment says Chamber president

Local business verifies their products are phosphate free

Chamber of Commerce chairman David Robinson says the government ban on the import of soap and detergent with phosphates makes sense from an environmental point of view and suggested its members contact the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency for further information on the ban, which went into effect last month.

This week ASEPA issued a news release reminding the community — especially business establishments and ocean and air freight forwarders — on the prohibition of imported soaps and detergents containing phosphates into the Territory.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Robinson said yesterday that he has not received any complaints or concerns from Chamber members relating to the ban on phosphates.

“From a Chamber perspective, the ban appears to make sense from an environmental point of view as the run off and residues from waste water from laundries, cleaning chemicals, soaps and other cleaning materials containing phosphate have a harmful effect on our eco- system, which we are doing the best we can to keep in a pristine condition,” he said.

Any of the Chamber members and others in the business community who are unsure about the new rules should consult with ASEPA officers to check on products they sell or use to make sure that they comply with the new regulations, said Robinson.

Responding to a request from locally based TMO Wholesaler on Protex soap and Palmolive soap products, Colgate-Palmolive (Thailand) Limited said it “hereby… confirms that the Protex bar soap and Palmolive bar soap products produced by us do not contain the phosphate ingredient,” according to the Sept. 13 letter from the company’s director of manufacturing in Bangkok, Thailand.

TMO Wholesaler is the local distributor for these two products and the Ottoville based company sought a confirmation letter, which was then forwarded to the local news media and ASG offices, including Customs Division.

The governor’s executive order also includes other prohibitions such as the ban on the importation of vehicles that are 10 years or older, which was included in the ASEPA news release reminder.

Robinson has not received any complaints from the private sector on this ban probably because the initial ban has been in place since 2007, when the first executive order was issue banning the importation of vehicles manufactured in 1999 or prior to 1999.

“This new executive order amends the previous one to make it any vehicle 10-year or older. So the ban on older vehicle model has been in place and I guess people are used to it by now,” he said. “However, I should point out that the Customs Division or agencies in the government must make this regulation known to the community to prevent any problems.”

The ASEPA news release about the ban on phosphates ingredient in soap and detergent is a good move and a reminder to the community, he said. “And its very important  that these types of regulations are known to the community so prevent any confusion,” he added.


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