to Withdraw Weed Killer
Herbicides Threaten Organics
October 31 -- Dow Chemical Company CEO, Michael Parker, is the
target of an e-mail campaign demanding that Dow's wholly-owned subsidiary,
Dow AgroSciences, take Confront and other persistent, clopyralid-containing
herbicides off the market until DOW can demonstrate their safety
to both backyard and centralized composting processes.
The web-based campaign
has been launched by the Athens, GA-based GrassRoots Recycling Network
(GRRN) at www.grrn.org.
"Confront is totally contradictory to all of our goals for recycling,
resource conservation and sustainability," said GRRN president
Anne Morse. "Dow's proposal that the solution lies in educating
composters and making composters pay for expensive laboratory testing
is completely unacceptable."
"Dow must follow the Precautionary Principle and withdraw Confront
immediately until it can be proven safe for organics recycling. And
Dow must take full financial responsibility for damage caused by its
products," Morse said.
Losses in Washington State, particularly in the Spokane and Pullman
area, due to unmarketable compost, are significant, according to state
and industry officials.
Recently, a class of extremely persistent herbicide products in turf
and agricultural applications, of which clopyralid is a member, has
been detected in finished compost in Washington State, Pennsylvania
and New Zealand, according to the trade journal, BioCycle.
According to BioCycle: "Sensitive plants like tomatoes, beans
and sunflower grown in compost containing clopyralid can be deformed
and damaged. Even compost containing manure from animals that have
eaten hay treated with picloram, a Dow chemical in the same class,
have been damaged by minute quantities of the herbicide."
"Dow AgroSciences claims to have fulfilled its obligations with
its label warning," said Gabriella Ulnar-Heffner, a Seattle Public
Utilities program development specialist. "The label is totally
inadequate since its message is only being delivered to the commercial
applicator who applies the chemical to lawns and not to the homeowner
or lawn maintenance company who collects the grass clippings and makes
the compost. Moreover, clopyralid levels have been detected in compost
products produced from such agricultural residuals as manures, straw
and animal bedding."
"Persistent herbicides threaten state and local government programs
that promote both backyard and centralized composting as the best
management method of dealing with yard trimmings," Morse said.
"Compost improves regional soil quality, reduces water consumption
demands and improves water quality. Many communities ban the disposal
of yard trimmings with garbage and many states prohibit the disposal
of yard trimmings in landfills."
The GrassRoots Recycling Network is a North American network of waste
reduction activists and professionals dedicated to achieving sustainable
production and consumption based on the principle of Zero Waste. The
e-letter and more information can be found at GRRN's Web site, http://www.grrn.org/dow/index.html
Anne Morse, president (MN) Tel: 507-457-6468 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Sheehan, executive director (GA) Tel: 706-613-7121 - (Bill Sheehan)