Espoma's Garden-tone has arsenic and heavy metals?

shellva(Camden 7b/8a)July 25, 2007

I could have sworn I read on here or one of the Gardenweb forums where someone claimed Garden-tone has arsenic and heavy metals in it. I am not up on my chemistry by any stretch but can someone please point out the thing listed on the ingredients that indicates there are these things in the product?

Also, if it is true that Garden-tone has arsenic and heavy metals in it, how do they get away with that? Not that I am deluded into think our government goes around having our best interest at heart but still.....

Here is a link that might be useful: Espoma.com

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fertilizersalesman(z6 PA)

The sources of mined nutrients, phosphorus in particular, contain a large variety of elements including heavy metals. Generally they are in such small concentrations they not of concern.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 10:03AM
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justaguy2(5)

Our drinking water also has arsenic in it. It's a question of amount.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 10:06AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Arsenic, like many other things, is an essential plant micro nitrient.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 11:46AM
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fertilizersalesman(z6 PA)

kimmsr,

Arsenic an essential micro nutrient? Where did you hear that?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 12:56PM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

I think either Garden Tone or Plant Tone has 23 times as much Arsenic as Miracle-Gro 15-30-15... but it's just a small amount so....

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:29PM
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all_organic_justin

Quote:
I think either Garden Tone or Plant Tone has 23 times as much Arsenic as Miracle-Gro 15-30-15... but it's just a small amount so....

I can sense the sarcasm :) I would also point out that not 1 of those 3 products are certified organic. Garden and Plant tone "Contain" organic material :P

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 2:18PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

"Arsenic an essential micro nutrient? Where did you hear that?"
Fropm plant pathologists at Michigan state University.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 6:55AM
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justaguy2(5)

I think MSU got it wrong, kimmsr. Arsenic isn't listed as an essential micronutrient by most sources. The list of essential nutrients can be found here.

However, things do appear to be changing and some sources now list lead, arsenic and other heavy metals as plant nutrients. I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that these elements are not properly considered 'essential', but in some cases may be beneficial.

To be properly classified as 'essential', according to definition a nutrient must be something that no plant can complete it's entire life cycle without and the nutrient must be non substitutable for something else.

There is another category though of elements found to, at least sometimes, provoke a favorable plant response even though it's not an essential nutrient.

Anyway, it wouldn't surprise me much if within 10 years we saw a major revision of thinking on plant nutrition. Already we are starting to understand plants generally do not use anywhere near the phosphorus we previously believed and do use quite a bit more calcium that we previously believed. Additionally some of the 'non essential' nutrients have been found capable of substituting for some of the essential ones which pretty much makes them non essential ;-)

Kind of confusing.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 7:43AM
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althea_gw

According to the Washington State Dept. of Ag. data base, Garden Tone has these levels (see link) of heavy metals and arsenic in the batch that was tested.

I can't answer your other questions.

Here is a link that might be useful: wsda

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 9:03AM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

Hi Justin! It wasn't really sarcasm, but the last time I pointed it out on another GW forum I was flamed because, while the numbers I provided were true, an arguement was made that it was in such small amounts that it didn't matter. But if someone's worried about arsenic, maybe it should matter?

There actually are about 3 versions of Miracle-Gro 15-30-15 too. Depending on which one, you can also say that Garden Tone has 33 times as much Mercury as M-G 15-30-15, or 10x as much Lead... or 3x as much Cadmium.

My point is that these words (Arsenic, Mercury, Lead, Cadmium) often set off a bell in people to the point of worrying too much, yet there will be great support for Espoma-type products because they are closer to organic than man-made water solubles like Miracle-Gro, Plantex, Schultz, etc, even though organic-type fertilizers often contain more of the heavy metals often considered to be dangerous to one's health. To me, that's being a bit "two-faced." (Worry about being organic but, at the same time, contributing to more heavy metal use, OR, worrying about arsenic & lead & mercury, yet using products that contain 10-33 times as much as water solubles.)

Mark

P.S. I use Plantex brands, one of the "cleaner" water solubles in regards to heavy metals.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plantex analysis

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 10:50AM
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all_organic_justin

Mark-

I knew what you were refering to. In fact I got a good laugh when I read it and couldn't resist posting back in good fun :)

I can see your point about being "two-faced". That's why I did point out that none of those products are in fact organic. The Garden and Plant tone may be "closer to" or "organic like" but in fact are not 95% organic (as which is needed by the USDA requirement to be certified organic). So, in reality, compairing the metals or arsenic, mercury, whatever is really compairing two non-organic products., and not an organic vs syntetic product.

My point (if there really is one) is that some people may not realize that they are not truely organic products, nor that they contain those metals, etc. It's a good thing we have forums where we can discuss and share information so people can learn these things :)

Justin

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 11:48AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Arsenic in a good, healthy plant appears to aid in preventing insect pest activity, but as with most things what we know about plants is very limited and,as been pointed out earlier, more micro nutrients are being discovered every day. Knowing that Arsenic is a poison how many people would you tell that it is an essential micro nutrient in all plants?
That many people spread other poisons without a second thought some of these that plants actually need would cause fear. Arsenic is in your soil, most likely, and your drinking water, most likely, and may be an essential micro nutrient in humans.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 7:15AM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

Hello everyone. I appreciate the interesting, informative and maybe innovative ideas you all have shared. And without bickering! Thank you.

Yes, when I first bought Garden-Tone I was under the impression that it was 100% organic. Now I do understand better, still wouldn't claim to understand completely, but better.

I have about 1/2 of a 25 lb bag left. I'm not exactly sure when or even if I'll ever get around to using it. So far I am happy enough with the results I am getting with chopped leaves, coffee grouds, kitchen waste, shredded mulch, fish emulsions and alfalfa meal/tea.

Thanks again. I'm enjoying the chemistry/biology lesson:)

Michelle

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 2:36PM
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Krista_5NY

Some fertilizers contain sewer sludge, might this contain heavy metals as well?

So as I understand it, the amounts of heavy metals in the fertilizers are small enough to not be of concern? The amounts in the WSDA chart are listed in parts per million.

If it's only a few parts per million, is that miniscule?

It seems confusing to compare water soluble products with dry powder products, and products with varying amounts of organic material mixed in.

Like comparing a teaspoon of Miracle Grow with one cup of Espoma Tone.

As I understand it the WSDA chart analyzes the products as applied into the soil. (?)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 4:18PM
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althea_gw

"Some fertilizers contain sewer sludge, might this contain heavy metals as well?"

Yes.

"So as I understand it, the amounts of heavy metals in the fertilizers are small enough to not be of concern? The amounts in the WSDA chart are listed in parts per million."

One of the problems with heavy metals is that they accumulate in the soil, so over time what started as a small amount with every fertilizing, can become a problem. There are plants that will absorb heavy metals and some of these are used for precisely that purpose, called bioremediation.

"If it's only a few parts per million, is that miniscule?"

Yes, but see the answer to question 1, and consider what else besides you may be affected by a miniscule amount.

I'll paste this from the WSDA site for the rest of your questions:

"The Washington standard for metals is based on the concentration of metals in the product and the application rate of the product. To accurately compare products, you need to consider the use rate on the product label."

HTH

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 5:17PM
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ronalawn82(z9FL)

"arsenic, like many other things, is an essential plant micro nutrient". Some plants will remove arsenic from the soil in comparatively larger quantities than other plants. (Specific plants have been used to clean up brownfields). Some fertilizers contain small quantities of arsenic and will be taken up by plants. But I have never understood that it is an essential micro nutrient. The fact that arsenic may have systemic insecticidal properties is not evidence that it is essential to the plant's well being. But Mother Nature has humbled me many times.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 8:23PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Parts per million may seem to be quite miniscule but those numbers are somewhat relative. While many of the things may not harm you in ppm they can be devestating to the smaller organisms that we also depend on to keep this planet functioning, so it is not easy to say whether such and such a product containing such and such a substance in only .5 ppm is harmful or not and as these substances are acculumalated by others up the food chain they become more concentrated posing a larger problem for us. For example two substances receiving much exposure today are Mercury and lead, both of which are, today, known to accumulate in the human body and cause major health problems many years after exposure.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 7:04AM
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andreahornbein_gmail_com

Thank you for your interest in learning more about hazardous and other industrial wastes in fertilizer. It has only been in recent years that the public has become aware of this method of disposal, and only then because of the persistence of a few Washington farmers, a small town mayor and the outstanding investigative skills of a Seattle Times� reporter Duff Wilson. The resulting investigative series 'Fear in the Fields: How Hazardous Waste Becomes Fertilizer' was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for public service reporting.

Duff Wilson's book 'Fateful Harvest, the True Story of a Small Town, a Global Industry and a Toxic Secret' was published in 2001 just days before the attacks of September 11, 2001. Needless to say, the book was overshadowed by the tragic events of 9/11.

As you enter this site to learn more, keep in mind that our children bear a disproportionate burden of the consequences from toxins released into the environment. While we cannot claim this method of disposal is the cause of the rise in childhood health problems, it may be a contributing factor. The most recently released Food and Drug Administration�s Total Diet Study for the period 1991-96 would seem to support at least cause for concern, recording a 50% rise in dietary arsenic since 1986 for both toddlers (2 year olds) and adults age 60-65 and a doubling of dietary arsenic for toddlers between 1984 and 1996.[1]

We are at a point in history, where the silent majority � those who care about the environment and children�s health � can no longer afford to remain silent. The consequences of environmental change are all around us, and like 'canaries in the coal mine' our children are paying the price as sentinels. Statistics on childhood illnesses since 1980 are staggering. Asthma has increased 142%; cancer continues to rise at 1% per year; birth defects are rising; and 17% of all children under age 19 have some form of developmental disability[2]. Even the EPA acknowledges the 'probable cause' is 'environmental toxins' and that most likely the damage is being done in-utero.

We have a unique opportunity to unite behind this issue that literally affects every one of us, and send a clear message to our elected officials that we want nothing less than a clean environment, and healthful food. I implore you to get involved and stay involved until this method of disposal has been banned and protective standards set.

Please join me in protecting our future by demanding safe food and fertilizer. The cure is prevention.

Patricia Anne Martin

Former Mayor, City of Quincy

Here is a link that might be useful: Safe Food and Fertilizer

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 8:23AM
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