American Samoa governor Togiola Tulafono this week issued an executive order banning the importation of soaps and detergents containing phosphates.
Togiola says all soaps and detergents must have zero phosphate content and the importer bears the burden of proving that the products meet local requirements.
In a memo to government departments, Togiola says the use of phosphates in detergents can be detrimental to the health of the ecosystem, because phosphates can cause algal growth in the water systems.
He says this depletes the oxygen available for fish and other animal populations.
The ban came into effecct this week during the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting in Pago Pago.