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I can't help but wonder if many people who want to "do the right thing" for the environment, operate with the misconception of products designated as "Organic" as being safe and harmless. But are they?

One of my neighbors contacted me asking for assistance because he is ashamed of how their yard looks. He told me that his wife is very concerned about using "any chemicals" and she is adamant about using "Organic Products" only. To be honest, I haven't really paid much attention to the "Organic Products", so this was a reason for me to learn more about them and research what they are and how they actually work. Let's just say, this was an eye opening experience......

She purchased a 5 gallon container of "Weed Killer" which she wanted applied to the lawn to deal with broad-leaf weeds. I read the instructions and the product is described as a "Non selective Contact Killer of weeds and grasses". In other words, it kills everything it touches including all weeds and grasses.

It Turns out it is made with one of its main disclosed ingredients being 20% Vinegar concentrate. On the label, the products were listed as 81% "other", after listing the Vinegar. By comparison, most table vinegar found in our homes is between 3% and 5% in concentration.

This makes the 20% Vinegar concentrate quite caustic. People who have purchased the product posted pictures on line where the product has leaked from the spray nozzle on the container and its eaten the finished layer of concrete right off the floor. Other pictures posted show it crumbling the surface layer of concrete and even eating a hole through a steel service door. It's a very effective weed control product, but it also kills all grasses and any plant on which it is applied.

The neighbor who purchased this product simply couldn't believe (in her words) that "An organic product would be damaging or destructive". I am surprised by what I have found, the more I have read. The level of personal protection gear to use "Organic Products" is every bit that of what one should wear when working with chemicals. In fact, the warning label on the Organic Weed killer says the following;

  • Dangerous / Deadly to Fish, Birds and other Animals
  • Areas treated in agricultural settings should not allow workers to enter the area for 48 hours following treatment.
  • Applicators and other handlers of this product must wear appropriate protective eye ware such a face shields, goggles and other certified safety equipment. Rubber gloves must be worn as well as long sleeves, long pants, socks, shoes and all contact with the skin should be avoided.
  • Areas treated with this product should be avoided for at least 48 hours following treatment with this product.
  • Product is very caustic and will cause serious injury or death if absorbed through the skin or ingested.
  • The product even "suggests" that the empty product container be "thoroughly rinsed with 1/4 container of water and shaken vigorously with the cap sealed. Rinse contents should be dumped into application equipment for future use. This process should be repeated at least 3 more times before disposing of the empty product container". That's to dispose of the empty container for the organic product.

They have a video on the products website where mom is spraying weeds and her young daughter is within 3 feet of her and the video talks about how the product is "all natural and made from Corn" and "contains no harmful chemicals"

The website and the video marketing the product go to great lengths to illustrate that its not made with "Harmful chemicals" and just how safe this product is for use around people and pets. Anything which in its application form eat finished concrete and corrodes a steel door to the point it eats the paint off and destroys the metal, well, its prudent to question just how harmless and safe such a product truly is............

I can't help but think many people automatically associate "Organic" with a product being safe and harmless. Clearly that's not the case. In fact, based upon the amount of the product used to be effective, its often a multiple of the "chemical" alternative. This makes the organic product being used to treat the problem, applied in a much heavier concentration, which has concerns of its own.

For example, one "weed control" Organic Product I reviewed for use on the lawn required a total of 12 gallons of the product to treat the one acre of lawn, mixed with 36 gallons of water. Using the broad leaf control product I typically apply, it would require 1.5 ounces of product per gallon of water and a total of 45 gallons of mixed product to treat the same area. That means the end difference in the volume of the product mixed with water is slightly more than 1/2 gallon of chemical weed control product as compared to 12 gallons of the Organic product. Both mix with similar amounts of water to treat an acre of lawn.

The other interesting fact I found about many of the weed killer products is that the organic products often use a soap mixture, to actually coat the plants to suffocate them. It makes the mixing and application of the Organic product difficult because it easily creates suds when agitated even with the basic tank movement, making the need to add the organic product after filling the sprayer with water and avoiding any agitation of the mixed product.

Another very interesting product comparison is to apply Nitrogen to the lawn using the natural product of Milorganite, which is made using the microbes material cleaned from the Milwaukee sewer treatment plant tanks. It sells in a 32 pound bag for about $16 per bag, which treats 2,500 sq feet. To treat an acre of lawn with the Milorganite product would require approximately 20 bags, with a total weight of 650 pounds at a cost of $320.

To treat the same acre with a nitrogen granular fertilizer product which I have used for years, require (3) 50 pound bags and a total cost of $125.

Milorganite appears to be a "safer" product from an application stand point. Its very unlikely you will burn the lawn applying Milorganite and its pelletized product makes the application of the product consistent as moisture breaks down the Milorganite into the lawn. Other than the higher cost and the much larger volume of product needed, the dangers of using Milorganite verses other nitrogen fertilizers seems to be much less........

Lot's to consider when looking at "Organic Alternatives", including the amount of the product needed and its cost when compared to traditional product sources of engineered products.
 

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I can't help but think many people automatically associate "Organic" with a product being safe and harmless.
Yes! Organic, gluten-free, super foods... whatever the hip soccer mom fad is this year.
When somebody tells me I should be eating something because it's "all natural", I remind them that snake venom is also, but that doesn't mean I want it in my body!
 

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Acetic acid, systematically named ethanoic acid, is a colourless liquid organic compound with the chemical formula CH₃COOH. Vinegar is no less than 4% acetic acid by volume, making acetic acid the main component of vinegar apart from water. Acetic acid is the second simplest carboxylic acid. Wikipedia

Acetic acid is very corrosive.
 

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It's simply a lack of understanding. Most people don't know what they're talking about with regard to what these terms mean. I once had a neighbor who swore that she only fed her kids good food -- organic with no gluten! I asked her if she knew what gluten was and she thought it was some sort of pesticide rather than a simple protein nutrient that a few people (mostly of northern European descent) are intolerant to.

"Organic" in the supermarket is defined by law and you can decipher the meaning. And it tends to differentiate between whether complex and sometimes toxic chemical treatments are used or not. Pretty simple.

But you cannot take that dynamic and apply it to other chemicals or applications. All substances are chemicals. Some are highly toxic or persistent and some benign and harmless to most things.

Pesticides is another misunderstood word. Most people think that pesticides are bad (and many truly are!) but when you spray water on leaves to eliminated aphids, you're using water as a pesticide. So it's better to differentiate by type: Organophosphates, etc.

So there are a lot of ill-informed and uneducated people out there and that's a recipe for this sort of thing. On the flip side, there are those who automatically dismiss "organic" at the grocery store as tuti-fruity airy-fairy trends and reject it wholesale whereas there is good science behind it and defined terms surrounding the application of the term -- at least in the supermarket.
 

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The gluten free diet is legit. If one has to be on it for medical reasons like I do. Unfortunately as a poster stated above too many people hear the buzz word and jump on the band wagon having no idea what it even is. I have relatives who still ask me if I’m over my “gluten problem”.

My mother in law says I should eat more all natural products. I told her arsenic is all natural.

Too many people get their facts from unreliable and downright wrong sources. Facebook being the biggest spreader of misinformation.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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The gluten free diet is legit. If one has to be on it for medical reasons like I do. Unfortunately as a poster stated above too many people hear the buzz word and jump on the band wagon having no idea what it even is. I have relatives who still ask me if I’m over my “gluten problem”.

My mother in law says I should eat more all natural products. I told her arsenic is all natural.

Too many people get their facts from unreliable and downright wrong sources. Facebook being the biggest spreader of misinformation.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Amen!!!!


Dave
 

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Her safe, loving, non-chemical, "organic" weed killer sounds more harmful and dangerous that my usual evil "chemical" tank mix of 2,4-d, Dicamba, Round Up, and Prodiamine.
 

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A friend of mine was a spinach farmer. He was relatively big time, at least for our area and designed and built his own harvester. He shipped up and down the east coast and into Canada.

Then came the issue of spinach with e coli out of California. The spinach market shut down- no sales anywhere. It's a perishable crop so if you can't sell for a month, you are toast. It turned out the contamination was from organic fertilizer being blown into a spinach field.

Not long after that he hosted a group of non farm people and someone asked him about organic products. He reminded them of the issue, pointed to a pile of potash and said "I can take a handful of that and eat it. That organic fertilizer put me out of business because it killed people".

He's now out of the spinach business because of that issue plus the labor issue.

I have a cousin that has a certified organic farm. He's really good at it and really believes that's the way for him to farm so there's no cheating or slipping a little non organic material in. He and his wife have done well with it by developing a group of people who can afford to buy their stuff. I congratulate them. They found their passion, worked hard and it's paid off but I would never pay the prices they have to charge for their vegetables which in all honesty don't taste any better than non-organic. But I'm glad there are people who do want to pay for it. There's room in the marketplace for both organic and conventional production. I don't like it when one group bad mouths the other. I don't see either method as the "best". They each have plusses and minuses and one may be more attractive to an individual consumer than another but for those farmers who talk down someone on the other side of the fence- shame on you. Talk about how good your product is, not about how bad someone else's product is and let the consumer pick.

Treefarmer
 

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Many things that are natural are hazardous or poisonous. If you think about it, oil is natural. It literally comes out of the ground.
So does uranium. . .

Treefarmer
 

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As someone who remembers a little from my college courses called "Organic Chemistry," referring to a substance as organic means it contains carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. It's a bit more detailed than that but there are more than 20 million known organic compounds.
Correct. My daughter who litterally just finished Organic Chemistry course said the same thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My neighbor with the problem lawn explained to me why his wife is so "anti chemical" and concerned about what is used on their property. They struggled to have children and ultimately, after extensive medical involvement, they had twins, one boy and one girl. Due to the wife's age and the difficulties encountered, it was clear these would be the only children they would have. These children are now 8 years old.

A few years ago, when the daughter was 5 years old, she developed a rash on her face and she was taken to the Dermatologist for treatment. The doctor indicated it was likely some type of contact reaction, but was not able to determine the actual source of the rash. Their lawn had been treated by Tru Green in the day or two before the daughter developed the rash, so the mother attributes the rash to the chemicals which Tru Green likely used on the lawn. But even the Dermatologist couldn't confirm or deny the source of the rash and it apparently quickly cleared up and hasn't occurred again.

I should also mention that the husband is a Gastroenterologist and while he certainly understands the implications of various dietary foods and the medical complications some people have with various foods, he also is not quick to condemn the proper use of chemicals for their intended uses. He is fine with the treatment of weeds in their lawn with the standard broad leaf weed chemicals applied as designed and used correctly.

In fact, I asked him what they intended to use to apply the Organic Chemicals which she insisted be applied to their lawn. He responded "We just assumed you would use the same equipment you use for the application of the other chemicals". I explained to him that the sprayer has a Plastic tank and while its rinsed out between uses of various sprays and cleaned with a "Sprayer Cleaner" solution, I would be very surprised to learn the actual tank itself isn't absorbing some of the chemical solutions over time. In other words, there is no way I can assure them the tank is "truly clean" and not containing residue from the various weed spray and Killz-all product which I use the sprayer to apply, not to mention also running Permetherin through the tank to treat for insects. etc.

I did mention that they could purchase a sprayer to be used only on their lawn. When I shared the price of the Frontier Sprayer I own and use, he didn't dismiss it as an option to make his wife happy. But he clearly thinks that her thoughts about this issue are in his words "very frustrating" and he mentioned that he is "tired of arguing about such things" with her.

So we are in a holding pattern, awaiting the decisions from the wife. I did encourage her to actually read the label on the 5 gallon container of Non selective Weed and Grass Killer product which is in their garage and I shared with them, the pictures of the damage from the product to cement and the other surfaces. She was very shocked the product could cause such damage.

The good news is simply properly cutting their lawn with good equipment and at the correct height and with the proper technique, has significantly improved it's appearance. Now, the weeds are next, I hope.................
 

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So she is insisting you use her chosen non-selective herbicide to kill the weeds even after telling her it is the wrong product and will kill the entire lawn? Or is she now at a mental block that cannot compute? I assume if she persists that that is the chemical you must use, you will politely refuse the job since their entire lawn will die?
 

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It Turns out it is made with one of its main disclosed ingredients being 20% Vinegar concentrate. On the label, the products were listed as 81% "other", after listing the Vinegar. By comparison, most table vinegar found in our homes is between 3% and 5% in concentration.
Hydrogen Peroxide is another chemical like this. The stuff you get from the drug store is typically 3% or less (if I remember right). I asked a railroad worker one time what was the worst thing they hauled, he told me hydrogen peroxide concentrate was near the top of the list. It was basically a "zero spill" item and could start a fire on the r/r ties if a small spill happened. Don't know if that it is 100% accurate info, but it was an eye opener.
 

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Hydrogen Peroxide is another chemical like this. The stuff you get from the drug store is typically 3% or less (if I remember right). I asked a railroad worker one time what was the worst thing they hauled, he told me hydrogen peroxide concentrate was near the top of the list. It was basically a "zero spill" item and could start a fire on the r/r ties if a small spill happened. Don't know if that it is 100% accurate info, but it was an eye opener.
Yes. Hydrogen Peroxide is an oxidizer. The concentrate decomposes quickly in an exothermic reaction... it creates oxygen and heat. So whatever it is spilled around could easily spontaneously combust and it would be quite exciting.
 
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