I remember this from the article, is was right down the road from where I used to deer hunt 30 or so years ago in Main "Among the few standards for PFAS in sludge are in Maine, where the state government set screening levels for PFOA and PFOS, two common types of PFAS. It developed the standards after milk from cows on a dairy farm that spread sludge were found to be contaminated with high levels of PFAS. The cows had to be killed, and the farmers found extremely high PFAS levels in their blood. "And this in today’s Guardian: ‘Forever chemicals’ found in home fertilizer made from sewage sludge
The exact chemicals mixed, and the materials cleaned or removed are covered by an NDA. Some customers were either extra paranoid, or sloppy and would have unlisted materials that occasionally reacted violently.I think we need some elaboration here! #heyyallwatchthis
You have discovered why professional applicators (in my CA, AZ, & NV experience) must study and pass rigorous exams about chemical applications. The hardest part of the exam? Reading the label! As an aerial applicator (new term for crop duster), I must also pass annual recurrent education classes and exams. The products sold at retail stores to the public are quite scary because hardly anyone (my opinion) really knows what damage can be done by those chemicals. Lawn fertilizer runoff is just one of the problems.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.
She never did admit defeat, but I h.ave been able to apply the granular fertilizer products I use and suggested for use on their lawn, which she initially objected to. In fact, the day I went to apply the fertilizer, she came out on the deck to get my attention to once again, express her "concerns". This time her concerns were because I had suggested her kids stay off the lawn following the fertilizer application for a few hours and she interpreted the few hours of avoidance as the product being "risky".
Not to mention the Continuing education fees and license revenue adds money to the states coffers.You have discovered why professional applicators (in my CA, AZ, & NV experience) must study and pass rigorous exams about chemical applications. The hardest part of the exam? Reading the label! As an aerial applicator (new term for crop duster), I must also pass annual recurrent education classes and exams. The products sold at retail stores to the public are quite scary because hardly anyone (my opinion) really knows what damage can be done by those chemicals. Lawn fertilizer runoff is just one of the problems.