Vermiculite now illegal?

    I tried to purchase a bag of vermiculite in a store in Ohio yesterday. The clerk said they didn't carry it anymore because it was illegal. Any truth to this?     I remember something a while back about prolonged exposure and cancer risk but it wasn't garden related.
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Out of curiousity I ran it through a chemical regulatory database I have access to and found no designations of carcinogenicity. Frank
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Perlite is usually considered botanically equivalent to vermiculite provided it is sold for botanical/horticultural purposes. Masonry perlite may contain large quantities of boron and harm plants.
"Asbestos in Vermiculite Garden Products
Because it provides aeration and drainage, vermiculite has been used in fertilizers, pesticides, potting mixes, and composts. However, this mica ore may contain asbestos. In a study of gardening products containing vermiculite, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found trace amounts of asbestos in 17 of 38 products tested ( Sampling and Analysis of Consumer Garden Products that Contain Vermiculite, EPA, August 2000 ). Four of these products contained substantial amounts of asbestos: Schultz's Horticultural Vermiculite, Earthgro's Best Vermiculite, Hoffman's Vermiculite and Ace Horticultural Grade Vermiculite.
Although the EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission believe that the potential hazard to consumers is low, many consumer advocates disagree ( Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 23, 2000 ). They point out that garden products are not labeled for asbestos content, and that the EPA has found it necessary to issue instructions concerning vermiculite in garden products. The EPA recommendations include using premixed potting soils, which are moist and less likely to generate dust, and using alternatives to vermiculite such as peat, sawdust, perlite or bark. The agency also recommends that gardeners who do use straight vermiculite keep the material damp, use it in a well-ventilated area, and avoid getting vermiculite dust on their clothing." [http://www.asbestosnetwork.com/exposure/ex_consumer.htm ]
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found trace amounts of asbestos in 17 of 38 products tested ( Sampling and Analysis of Consumer Garden Products that Contain Vermiculite, EPA, August 2000 ). Four of these products contained SUBSTANTIAL amounts of asbestos:
Schultz's Horticultural Vermiculite Earthgro's Best Vermiculite, Hoffman's Vermiculite Ace Horticultural Grade Vermiculite
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When a nursery worker or chemical industry flack says "horticultural vermiculite is safe" this has to be weighed for what it is, something that someone who profits off a lie seriously wants to believe is true, since if they can convince themselves, maybe they can convince you. The science of a thing is all too often the opposite of what a product label or a nursery worker claims -- thus close investigation of INDEPENDENT science finds that horticultural vermiculite DOES pose a risk of cancer; RoundUp DOES destroy wetlands, wildlife, lingers a long time in the environment, & may even cause Hodgson's lymphoma; aerated garden "tea" made at home with gawdawful expensive equipment turns out (in controlled studies) to have exactly the same "benefit" as watering with plain water; rubber-mulch DOES kill perennials & does so rapidly; & the new-improved superabsorbant polymers added to soils to increase water retention in actuality RETARDS water absorption in plants, killing them.
Nurseries selling garden support products are frequently hellholes of dangerous crap that will harm you & your garden; it's not like "Yesterday sure we sold DDT, but now we'd NEVER do anything at all like that." They do it every day, all the time. It's also true in petshops. For example, it's been known for decades that cedar shavings & pine shavings cause liver & lung disease & death of mammals, but do you find safe aspen shavings sold as bedding in petshops instead? Very rarely. Bags & bags of deadly toxic cedar, pine, & spruce are sold for pets, in happy-smily packaging, from companies that presumedly love animals (or flowers) & should have taken these dangerous products off the shelf the instant they were known to kill pets (or plants, or people). When the facts are in & not condusive to easy profits, love of money trumps verisimilitude & love of flora or pets every time.
If a vendor finds it profitable to keep you in the dark, they will do so, up to & including claims for products that do exactly the opposite of what you spend your money hoping a product will do. Safe as directed means dangers too numerous to elucidate; nontoxic means poisonous; biodegradable means "breaks down & recombines into cancer-causing agents"; beneficial means harmful; improved means worsened; useful means worthless. This almost makes sense if it were only giant chemical companies run by heartless moguls, but the damnable thing is that even independent nurseries are rarely exempt from lying out of blind greed. Plus more & more often, products either useless or harmful are being promoted as "organic" so that even the wary can be fooled out of their wallets.
-paghat the ratgirl
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You are one weird puppy. Thank God you can't breed.

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No. Home Depot has bags of it.
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so does Lowes..............<g>

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You don't work for Lowes by an chance, do you? <VBG>
John
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I just bought some in Tennessee. But your laws may be different. You might be able to oder it online--the shipping should be cheap as this stuff is very lightweight. Sand or perlite are alternatives to starting suttings. I've used vermiculite for years, although never inhaled nor smoked it. ;-)
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inhaled or smoked? are we talking vermiculite or good ganja?? <GBSEG> sorry couldn't resist, since it was Marley's birthday yesterday :) buffalo soldier......................maddie
wrote:

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My mom, a lifelong nurseryman, has COPD now. She's on oxygen 24/7, since age 74. She's 78 now.
The MD's think it's because of lifelong exposure to vermiculite in her greenhouses.
She never smoked and was never around smokers. She's an RN.
I still use vermiculite in my potting mix (Cornell mix, same as my mom always used) but am careful to not breathe around it. Don't know why, as I'm a smoker.
Since we don't have health care for poor people in this country, I'm going to die young, so may as well drink and smoke and not worry about it. The govt. doesn't give a shit about anyone who's poor and votes democrat anyway. If we can't kick major bucks to the Repub's, no one gives a shit about us, so we die.
Jan
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It is not just the poor that cannot get healthcare. Anyone with more than a hangnail of a pre-existing condition is deemed un-insurable. After all, who can make a profit on somebody that they know is going to get sick and actually USE the healthcare insurance.
Linda H.
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I see your point, but I think that is a major incentive to not smoke, drink, or eat unhealthy foods.
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Second hand smoke may have contributed also.
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so might BBQing during the summer.

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Agricultural vermiculite is not illegal. There was a scare awhile back regarding vermiculite containing asbestos however that pertains to construction materials containing vermiculite. Most ag. vermiculite is mined at a different location than that used in the construction industry and is asbestos-free. All vermiculite does contain tiny little particles/shards of mica, which can be dangerous if inhaled over an extended period. A mask like that used when working with peat or Portland cement should remove any particulate matter and avoid any danger.
FWIW, perlite is a far better additive to potting mixes and soil for increasing drainage, It doesn't absorb water and breakdown over time as vermiculite will.
pam - gardengal
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