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Word Count: 751
Phosphates may be created by substituting some or all of the hydrogen of a phosphoric acidby metals Depending on the number of hydrogen atoms that are replaced the resultingcompound is described as a primary secondary or tertiary phosphate Primary and secondaryphosphates contain hydrogen and are acid salts Secondary and tertiary phosphates withthe exception of those of sodium potassium and ammonium are insoluble in water Tertiary sodium phosphate is valuable as a detergent andwater softener The primary phosphates tend to be more soluble Phosphates which are an important component to metabolism in both plants and animalshelp in the first step in oxidation of glucose in the body Primary calcium phosphate isan ingredient of plant fertilizer Phosphates have caused increasing attention recently The focus is on the environmentallyharmful effects in household detergents Wastewater from laundering agents containsphosphates which are said to be a water pollutant Most laundry detergents contain approximately 35 to 75 sodium triphosphate Na5P3O10 which serves two purposes Providing an alkaline solution pH 90to 105 is necessary for effective cleansing and also to tie up calcium and magnesiumions found in natural waters and prevent them from interfering with the cleansing role ofthe detergent Eutrophication is the progressive over-fertilization of water in which festering massesof algaes blooms choking rivers and lakes Phosphorus compounds act as a fertilizer forall plant life whether free-floating algae or more substantial rooted weeds and areimplicated in eutrophication Many countries control phosphate levels whereas Switzerland has banned the use of phosphates The marine environment is both fragile and more resistant than the terrestrial ecosystemIt is fragile for the reasons that nutrients are generally present in very lowconcentrations permanently consumed by living organisms and pollutants diffuse rapidlyLakes and rivers are extremely complex ecosystems Nutrients are taken up by both algaeand rooted weeds The weeds act as a shelter for fish larvae and zooplankton both ofwhich eat algae and are in turn eaten by larger fish Scientists have concluded thatunpolluted lakes can absorb surprisingly
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