I had an experience that you may need to know about. I keep baking
soda in the refrigerator for odor control. When I removed it, for some
reason I decided to broadcast it off the front porch. Now a few days
later I've got a wide brown arc of dead grass where the baking soda
settled on it. I guess the sodium in baking soda acts like the sodium
in salt, huh?
In extremely dilute percentages (1% to 4% in oil or soapy water)
bicarbonates are used as organic fungicide, pesticide, & for other garden
purposes, & is by & large non-toxic, though it should even so be regarded
as a harsh gardening chemical since bicarbonates can destroy the cell
structure of plants, & can so alkalinize soil pH that nothing will grow.
It was formerly illegal to sell bicarbonates for use in gardens, but
home-preparations were so popular that Congress was lobbied to make it
legal for corporate interests to cash in on the popularity & package
preparations explicitly for garden use. At the end of 1996, the EPA
changed its sodium & bicarbonates regulations so that it could be sold for
garden use. The change was strictly economic, not because hazards were
suddenly discovered not to exist.
Because it has for so long been a traditional home cleaning & cooking
chemical, with garden uses noted for about a century, people frequently
don't think about the hazards, & don't keep it out of reach of children or
pets. It can cause eye damage, lung damage if airborn particles are
breathed in, gastrointestinal & renal illness if it is eaten pure,
agravates edema, reacts with environmental phosphates & acids to release
carbon dioxide, has volatile reactions to ammonium phosphates, & kills
plant life, benificial insects, & benificial microorganisms. A one-time
use of horticultural bicarbonates highly dilute & as directed on the
labels would not stress a garden, but it can linger in the soil a long
while & if used frequently will accumulate & become harmful. And of course
as you saw, used undiluted it is a menace.
Watering the area you wrecked repeatedly & deeply should wash the chemical
deeper into the soil & the area will recover.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
One other use I've used for baking soda... is to poor it
into a clogged sink and follow it up with Vinegar.
Someone made a volcano for a science fair project
when I was in grade school by doing the same thing...
the volcano was a jar covered in paper mache to make
it look like a volcano, with an upside dunnel for the top,
again decorated to make it volcanic looking, and
removeable so as to be able to poor baking soda in,
and then a side hose was used with a funnel to poor
in vinegar to get the volcanic effects.
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