Formaldehyde in mulch?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Ravenlost, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a free source of mulch...sawdust...but haven't gotten a delivery yet because the manager told me there was formaldehyde in it, but assured me it wouldn't harm the soil.

    I've done some research and it appears he may be right...formaldehyde seems to break down quickly when exposed to air. Anyone know anything about this and can point me in the right direction?
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    From what I've read heat, humidity and sunlight will cause it to degrade and evaporate within days. I wouldn't put it in the henhouse because of close quarters, but it should be fine on the garden or flower beds. I do know that formaldahyde is sometimes mixed with urea for fertilizer. Your county agent MIGHT know more, then again...
     

  3. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have pretty much decided my county agent doesn't exist! He's never in the office when I've dropped by and he doesn't return phone calls.

    I was planning to use the sawdust around trees, in flower gardens and on the paths in my garden so I think it will probably be okay.
     
  4. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Yea, it should be ok around non edibles. I would keep it out of my veggie garden though. If it has formaldehyde, it may well have other nasties too.
     
  5. Fla Gal

    Fla Gal Bunny Poo Monger Supporter

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    Do you reallly want this stuff on your place even with a short life of the formaldehyde? If the sawdust was of natural wood it would be ok unless you're sensitive to turpines. Another thing to think about is the sawdust from plywood and particle board doesn't contain just formaldehyde. It also contains the chemicals of the glues.

    From http//www.nsc.org:
    Formaldehyde has miscellaneous uses in agriculture for seed treatment, soil disinfection, and as a insecticide and fungicide; as a reagent in analysis; to water- and grease-proof concrete and plaster; as a drying agent and preservative in cosmetics; in room fumigants; as a chemical intermediate for dyes, surface-active agents, and processing aids; in embalming as a preservative and hardener of tissues; in histopathology; as a biocide in drilling fluids; as a stabilizer in gasoline; in leather tanning; as a corrosion inhibitor in metal industries; in paper industries as a chemical intermediate for wet-strength and other paper treating resins; as a photographic film hardener; as a starch modifier; to modify fibers in textiles; and in wood preservatives.
    http://www.nsc.org/library/chemical/Formalde.htm

    Formaldehyde is something I wouldn't take even the tinyest dose of or take a chance with unless it might be in a flower garden far away from the house. Maybe I sound like a nay-sayer, but, I don't think so. The formaldhyde and the chemicals from the glue that would be absorbed by edible plants doesn't sound too yummy to me. :no:
     
  6. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That's possible, but this place seems to be pretty "up and up". The guy I talked to said they weren't going to deliver any of it until they got it all checked out with the EPA.

    My garden will be raised beds with the sawdust only on the paths.
     
  7. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    I know this sounds gross! I think of embalming fluid everytime I hear of it.

    But, here is a tidbit from my hubby.

    He drank beer, when he was in GITMO Bay and the beer was rank in taste.

    He found out why! All beer that Budweiser was making for export in the 60's had formaldehyde in it!!!!

    Think mayhap that is the reason there are so many dying of strange stuff???
     
  8. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So do I! And I've been hesitant about this sawdust ever since I called the guy, hence my post here. Maybe we'll just use it around trees and in flower beds as mulch as I have plenty of non-contaminated stuff around here to use in my veggie garden paths. And I'll definitely want to find out what type sawdust it is...if it's coming from a furniture plant, etc. I have no idea yet if it's got glue products in it or what. I'm supposed to call him back the end of the month.

    SIGH...seemed like such a great deal...free sawdust that they would deliver right to my door.
     
  9. Fla Gal

    Fla Gal Bunny Poo Monger Supporter

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    Anyone and everyone will beat a path to your door to get rid of their toxins if you're willing to accept it. I wouldn't use the formaldehyde laden sawdust for any purpose. Not even a composting toilet :no:
     
  10. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm sure we'll find uses for it outdoors. Heck, maybe it will kill some of the poison ivy around the trees! Everything I read says it degrades into the air quickly. Now, if there are other toxins in the sawdust I'm not going to get it.
     
  11. charles

    charles Well-Known Member

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    It will quickly dissappear and otherwise biodegrade as mulch. It would be extremely unlikely that any would still exist in soil and be available for absorbtion into plant roots in a garden, much less able to pass through cell membranes into roots.

    There are naturally occurring toxins in almost any wood that are more persistent and toxic than formaldehyde. Consider why some woods rot more slowly than others.
     
  12. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Walmart makes me sick, apparently because of all the formaldehyde in everything. Thus, I am not particularly fond of it. Gives me a headache and makes me mega tired.
     
  13. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I bought a new mobile home several years ago I had the same problem...headaches. Ended up opening all the windows and staying at my parents for a couple weeks to let the formaldehyde dissapate. Once we moved in I put lots of houseplants in the home to help rid the air of toxins.

    We won't be using any of this sawdust indoors, unless we use it in the horse stalls. If we decide to do that, we'll definitely let it "age" outdoors in the sunshine beforehand.
     
  14. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    That was my thought on it. Find out what kind of glues it has in it. If it's just formaldehyde or if it's something degradable, couldn't you just let it compost for a while? Mix in some manure or some granular fertilizer and let it rot for a year or so and then use it. There's a lot to be said for immediate gratification but also alot to be said for being patient. I wish I had several truck loads of free sawdust. I could figure out something to do with it.


    There was a crew of five trucks and 25 guys in our parking lot at work this morning. They asked if it was ok if they "rested" there a while. They had been in Florida since Charley went through. They're from Ohio and they're trying to make their way home. They had spent all weekend cleaning up around Birmingham from Ivan. (They had already emptied their shredders but I wished that I had several truck loads of their shredded limbs.) I thanked them for all their hard work and went to Starbucks to get them some coffee.
     
  15. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That was nice Daybird! I was in AL yesterday (went to Albertville to pick up a couple of puppies) and I was surprised at all the downed trees in north Alabama. I saw damage from Fayette to B'ham and from B'ham to Haleyville (which is my hometown).

    My brother in Mobile still has no power, neither does his MIL in north AL. Bad situation all around. Sure is nice to hear about folks coming down to help.
     
  16. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    eh, It wasn't that nice. I know the manager and their store is only a couple of doors down from mine. I didn't pay anything for it. Just told David that they needed something to drink. Still wish I had some of their chippings.

    You went all over Alabama, didn't you? You should have stopped by. You could have taken our two peahens home with you for a couple of weeks. They've depleted the snake population on our stretch of the Warrior River. They need more copperheads.
     
  17. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Luckily we haven't seen any copperheads here...yet! Just those nasty water moccasins and we haven't seen any of those since hubby killed those two a couple weeks ago.

    I definitely want some peahens/peacock, guineas, ducks and geese to wander around this place.

    I was on a mission this past weekend...went to a family reunion in Fayette and then to B'ham to pick up two homeless Border Collie puppies and then to Haleyville to give one of the pups to my dad. I put about 600 miles on the car Saturday and Sunday, but it was good to be home for a bit.
     
  18. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    Oh WOW Ravenlost, you are not going to believe this...I looked it up!

    http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cach...formaldehyde-factsheet.pdf+formaldehyde&hl=en

    Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smellinggas. Commonly known as a preservative inmedical laboratories and mortuaries, formaldehyde is also found in other productssuch as chemicals, particle board, householdproducts, glues, permanent press fabrics, paperproduct coatings, fiberboard, and plywood

    It is also widely used as an industrial fungicide,germicide, and disinfectant.

    It goes on to tell how much of the stuff has to be absorbed by the skin in liquid form...

    The bottom line though is that it is in just about everything we own!

    I worked in a fabrication plant and we had to deal with upholstery fabrics all day long. Let me tell you, you can smell the formaldehyde!

    Buy a new mobile home? Formaldehyde...

    I can remember going with my mother (it was her favorite past time) to look at mobile homes in the winter when we couldn't do anything else.

    I'm allergic to formaldehyde and in heavy concentrations of it I wheeze! So here I am running in and out of all of these brand new mobiles dying!

    Now, as an adult, if we look at anything like that we have to ask them, 'How long has the mobile home been set up and open and aired out?'

    It is a gas and it will, I had found emit a strong odor when it is not gassed off.
     
  19. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    You are definetly exposed to formaldahyde with all your clothes, furniture, carpets, packaging, interior of cars, and nearly anything that is manufactured. Also, chlorine in water supplies combines with any organics in the water to give you a dose of it whenever you take a hot shower. Fun, eh?

    I wash all new clothes in very hot water with lye soap and pure gum spirits of turpentine. Then run them thru several more times with just soap. Then once with vinegar. Then out on the line for several days. Otherwise I can't bear to have them in the house, much less touching me.
     
  20. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    Wow, are you super sensitive to anything unnatural???