Read More in The Sun Gro’er Issue 1/1 (2003)
You may be into heavy metal, but Technigro is not! Heavy metals are pervasive in our environment and pose dangers to human health at certain concentrations. For example, you can’t drink that beer and eat barbecued fish on the deck with peace of mind because of concern about lead in beer cans, mercury in fish, and arsenic on treated wood decks. But you don’t have to worry about heavy metals if you fertilize with Technigro. The top-quality water soluble fertilizers are free heavy metals and made with only the best ingredients.
The concern for heavy metals in fertilizers started with the use of industrial waste as fertilizers. For example, mining wastes can be used to make zinc and iron fertilizers. Zinc and iron are plant nutrients, and recycling of waste is good, but the waste may also have other heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead as byproducts. If used as fertilizers, growers could get exposed to these unexpected heavy metals. Heavy metals can contaminate ground water, accumulate in crops (like lettuce) and get ingested by humans, eventually causing health problems.
Fertilizers are regulated by individual states. All the states have regulations for the intended nutrients in fertilizers, but no regulations existed before for unintended contaminants. The states that started regulating heavy metals in fertilizers approached the acceptable standards in different ways. For example, Washington State limits how much heavy metal comes from using the recommended rate of a fertilizer.
Thankfully, fertilizers are coming under heavy metal regulations. Washington State started regulating heavy metals in fertilizers about five years ago. Since then Texas, California and recently Oregon have come up with such regulations. More states would follow, because of the fear that they might become dumping ground for fertilizers that are illegal in neighboring states.
Since the application rate determines the limit in this case, a manufacturer can simply lower the recommended rate to meet the standards, of course at the cost of product performance! California limits are based on maximum concentration of a heavy metal in relation to the concentration of a certain nutrient. For example, a fertilizer containing 6% phosphate should not have more than 18 ppm arsenic.
As you know, nutrients intended to be in the bag are listed on the label. Unintended heavy metals are not being listed on the label yet. Currently, there is web site address on the label from where one can get more information on heavy metals in that fertilizer. You could point that to the customers to show that the fertilizer meets heavy metal standards, as an additional selling point.
Using EPA methods, we test Technigro formulas for heavy metals on an ongoing basis as a means of monitoring quality control. The results could be used for those environmentally conscious customers who are interested in using not just the fertilizers passing the regulations, but want to use fertilizers with the lowest heavy metal content. In fact, The Seattle Times scored Technigro one of the cleanest fertilizers with regard to heavy metal content.