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[GreenYes] LA Times and AP stories on Dow's herbicide in compost
The Associated Press has picked up a story 
that ran in the Los Angeles Times yesterday.  
For more info and to email Dow, go to GRRN's 
web site: 
/Bill Sheehan, GRRN

December 27, 2001


LOS ANGELES -- Traces of a herbicide toxic to 
garden vegetables has been found in compost in 
three states, a discovery that worried the lawn 
waste recycling industry. 

Compost and recycling companies told the Los 
Angeles Times that their businesses could go 
bankrupt unless the herbicide is eliminated. 

"You cannot have a system that mandates 
recycling of green waste and license a garden 
chemical that makes the waste unrecyclable," 
said Gabriella Uhlar-Heffner, solid waste 
manager for Seattle's public utility company. 

The small amounts of Clopyralid, which is 
produced by Dow AgroSciences, were found in 
compost made from recycled grass, straw and 
manure in California, Washington and 
Pennsylvania, as well as New Zealand. 

The herbicide, used mainly to kill weeds, is not 
deadly to humans or animals, but it can kill 
vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and 

Clopyralid is used in dozens of products popular 
with crop farmers and commercial lawn-care 

Nationally, compost companies accept about 28 
million tons of yard trimmings each year. The 
material comes from more than 9,700 curbside 
collection programs run by city and county 
sanitation departments in 37 states. 

In California, nearly half the compost made from 
recycled garden clippings is used for 

Clopyralid kills plants by imitating hormones 
called auxins and causing abnormal growth. 
During commercial composting, most chemicals 
used in lawn care and agriculture break down 
completely enough to satisfy organic farmers, 
but Clopyralid survives the process. It can 
remain lethal up to 18 months after spraying. 

Dow did not study the chemical's effects in 
compost when it originally sought federal 
approval in 1987. Seven years later, the company 
began putting warnings on the labels of 
Clopyralid products saying consumers should not 
compost materials treated with the herbicide. 

Dow spokesman Garry Hamlin said problems 
happened because Dow's label warnings were 
ignored. Material treated with the herbicide 
should have been disposed of another way but was 
recycled, he said. 

Some areas are finding high levels of the 
herbicide in its compost. In Washington, 
Clopyralid residues are at rates of 50 to 1,500 
parts per billion, five to 300 times higher than 
the amount needed to kill sensitive plants. 

The chemical was first discovered in the soil 
around dying plants in 1999 in Spokane, Wash. 

Dow products using the chemical include Lontrel, 
Transline, Stinger, Reclaim and Confront, 
Hornet, Scorpion and Redeem. Other companies' 
pesticides that use Clopyralid bought from Dow 
include Millennium, Momentum, Chaser Ultra, 
Battleship, Strike Three and TruPower.

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