Get the PH out of our compost!

Thank you for signing on to help with our campaign to Get the PH Out of Our Compost!

Read our comments to the EPA. Then draft your own comments and send the USCC a screenshot. 

You can read the links below to learn more about the damage persistent herbicides like Clopyralid, Picloram and Aminopyralid have done not only to crops and gardens, but to the very compost industry we represent.

We need your help now ---in June/July the US EPA’s focus is on CLOPYRALID!!

AUGUST 5 2020 is the DEADLINE for comments to US EPA on this particular herbicide (the others will come later!)

It’s important:

  1. That you take part in this campaign – please send a screenshot (see bottom of page) once you have.
  2. That you make your comments directly on US EPA’S page Here.
  3. That you make your comments your own. US EPA will not be moved by form letters or mass-produced responses. Use our talking points below and on the technical talking points page and state why it’s important to YOU!
    • You can talk about the impact on plants, crops and gardens
    • You can focus on the compost industry –the unintended victims of these herbicides which live on even through the compost process.
    • You can discuss the negative effect this has on green business people and entrepreneurs whose livelihoods are being affected when they unknowingly sell tainted compost

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See below for more technical talking points as well!

  • These weed killers are picolinic acids designed to target broadleaf weeds like thistle, chicory and dandelions
  • Concentrations in compost as low as one part per billion (ppb) may negatively affect some plants. That’s like a single drop mixed into an oplympic-sized swimming pool.
  • Clopyralid is used to kill weeds in hayfields, agricultural crop production, golf courses, right-of-ways, and lawns. Users like it because it can remain effective for several months to years. Unfortunately it remains active on plant residuals, and even after passing through animals into their manure, urine or bedding. Composters taking manures, crop residuals, or grass clippings may unwittingly be introducing Clopyralid into their compost.
  • Persistent herbicides found in compost and soils directly harm the environment and threaten the economic viability of many industries, including the multi-billion dollar composting industry in the United States. Compost manufacturers face liability claims, product testing, and financial losses. With every new incident of crop damage due to herbicide-contaminated compost, consumer confidence in the use of compost will decline.
  • Soil contamination is an additional concern. Nurseries, landscapers, farmers, and gardeners are among the industries threatened when soil is contaminated by clopyralid
  • The first incidents of herbicide contamination in compost were reported in 2000 in Spokane, WA, where compost produced from yard trimmings contaminated with clopyralid damaged vegetable and garden crops. The City of Spokane suffered an estimated four million dollars in damages and the compost facility was forced to close.

Given the fact that there are more than 100 million tons of compost used throughout the US every year, the bulk of compost produced and sold is either uncontaminated or is below the Observed Adverse Effect level. However, we can only know about incidents when

We usually only get reports sporadically, but if there is a sizable contamination incident we may get dozens, as we have recently from the Portland, OR area and the Research Triangle (NC) region.

If someone reports directly to EPA, there is an ongoing tracking of incidents.

Damage to plants can show up in various stages of growth based on the concentration of herbicide and the susceptible plant species.

We have been working for years to limit to non-harvested crops the approved application and labeling of these pesticides. PH residual may take several years to fully break down in the environment—and this also holds true for the composting process.

Crops are allowed to have residuals that vary from 500 to 500,000 ppb, depending on the crop, yet extremely small amounts (3-20 parts per billion, depending on which PH and crop) of the PH residuals in compost can cause damage to susceptible plants where contaminated compost is used.

Compost manufacturers have almost no way of knowing whether any incoming feedstocks such as hay, manure from animals that have been fed PH-contaminated hay or turfgrass clippings contain PH residuals. Testing is both extremely difficult and very expensive. This is why we are lobbying the EPA to limit application to non-harvested crops.

Currently the EPA requires testing on aquatic species, mammals, and soil half-life. There is no requirement to test residual of PH after composting, and no limit on how long an herbicide is allowed to last in the environment. Also, most labs in the U.S. do not have the capability to test at the low detection rate of parts per billion.

Draft template for comments to the US EPA

Tips for writing effective comments

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Submit a screenshot / copy of your comment

On July 10th the USCC will randomly select a someone who commented to receive free USCC swag. To enter, please submit a screenshot or copy of your submitted comment.

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Read More About Persistent Herbicides

Persistent Herbicide Incidence Reporting Form