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Daily News Archive
From January 18, 2002

Maine Considers Action Against Chemicals in Fertilizer

Today, January 18th 2002, a public hearing will be held to hear a bill that would "limit the amount of arsenic allowed in fertilizer sold in Maine." The bill, LD 1944, was proposed by Representative Scott Cowger of Hallowell and would set the allowable level of arsenic in fertilizers at 500 ppm.

Ironite is one fertilizer product that would be affected if this bill were to come to fruition. In fact, it would be banned considering its current composition of 4380 ppm of arsenic, according to Washington State Department of Agriculture. 2910 ppm of lead was detected as well. Maine has tried to regulate the sale of Ironite in the past but to no avail. The state's Department of Environmental Protection had issued a Notice of Violation to Ironite for "distributing a waste-derived fertilizer without the required approvals." However, federal law provides an exemption that creates difficulties in regulation of Ironite.

The manufacturers of Ironite claim that humans or plants cannot be affected by the arsenic and lead because these toxins are locked up within minerals in the fertilizer. Others have voiced concerns that acid rain will cause a breakdown of the minerals, unleashing the poisons into the environment. The potential damage is great. One disease that has been linked to arsenic is bladder cancer. Maine has the second highest death rate in the country from this disease.

Read the full article from the Maine Environmental Policy Institute.

Please contact Beyond Pesticides for more information regarding the toxicity of arsenic and arsenic-based products.