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[GreenYes] RELEASE: Dow Herbicides Threaten Organics Recycling Industry
For Immediate Release 

DOW HERBICIDES THREATEN ORGANICS 
RECYCLING INDUSTRY

MINNEAPOLIS, 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, 
www.grrn.org/dow/index.html. 

***********
Contact GrassRoots Recycling Network:
Anne Morse, president (MN) 
   Tel: 507-457-6468 Email: amorse@nt1.co.winona.mn.us 
Bill Sheehan, executive director (GA) 
   Tel: 706-613-7121 Email: zerowaste@grrn.org 

###

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