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November 17, 2010

Is "Safe-For-Pet" Snail Bait Really Safe?

I came across this: Iron Phosphate Slug Bait Warning, because we caught our little dog eating Sluggo in the garden. You should read it and decide for yourself. From the post,

Iron phosphate is non-toxic to both humans and dogs, as well as other pets and wildlife. Studies also show that it is equally non-toxic to slugs and snails, because it does not release its load of poisonous elemental iron very easily. If this is the case, why do other studies show that it is a very effective product that rivals the metaldehyde baits? How can these baits made of nothing but iron phosphate and wheat gluten be as effective as they are shown to be when other studies show that snails can live indefinitely on a diet of iron phosphate?

Enter a man-made chemical called EDTA, a chelating agent that causes the iron phosphate to release its elemental iron easily in the digestive systems of not only slugs and snails but of pretty much anything that eats it. EDTA or the similar EDDS are the only reason these baits are effective, yet interestingly the label only reads Active Ingredient: Iron Phosphate - 1%, Inert Ingredients - 99%. No mention is made of the presence of another chemical that can turn harmless iron phosphate into a deadly poison. Apparently EDTA was slipped through the cracks in our regulatory system as an "inert" ingredient, and inert ingredients do not have to be listed on the label. Since iron phosphate is harmless, and EDTA is the ingredient that makes it effective, not to mention dangerous, something is really wrong here.

That let me to this article, Gardners Beware of So-Called Pet-Safe Slug Bait, (click through for links and the rest of the article)

We recently treated two patients at DoveLewis who consumed so-called pet safe slug bait for iron toxicity. Iron levels were found to be within the toxic range for one patient. Both patients survived their ordeal.
Pet owners should be aware that iron phosphate is toxic to animals if they eat it. The Animal Poison Control Center lists these symptoms as signs of iron phosphate toxicity:
• Lethargy and vomiting for the first 30 minutes and up to two hours after ingestion
• Vomit may contain blood due to iron irritation to the gastro-intestinal tract
• Severe dehydration and collapse due to prolonged vomiting.

We will keep an eye on our dog for any of the symptoms. Be careful, it says iron in a dog's blood can build up over time.

November 3, 2010

Recycling Mystery

This is a blog - so I can rant - right?

Well here is my recycle rant.

I have always been an avid recycler, carefully separating all the chosen items into their respective bins. Paper with paper and sometimes some cardboard, crushing down soy milk cartons to the smallest possible shape, crushing cans to take up less space and even separating plastics and cans under the belief that this would make it easier for the sorter. Well I guess I was completely wrong! Last week we had delivered to the entire neighborhood some spiffy looking large plastic bins. One for compost, one for trash and one for "all the other stuff." It's the "all the other stuff" category that has me perplexed!

Throwing cans, bottles, other plastics and paper all into the same bin is like sacrilege upon the altar of my fervent belief system. How can this be easier for the sorter at the other end? It goes against all common sense.

The recycle bin also has a notice on the front saying that it is illegal to riffle through and take cans and bottles. I used to HELP the can and bottle rifflers - and believe me there are plenty in this neighborhood - by separating the things with a return on them from the other stuff. Every other Monday night before the recycle truck comes on Tuesday morning, I would hear someone going through the bottles and cans. In my book, if you are that poor - you are absolutely welcome to the scant amount you may get from returning some bags of cans or bottles - in fact I salute your endeavor. Surely these are my cast offs to do with as I please? And if I choose to give them to someone by leaving them outside on the street then surely it is my gift to those in desperate need. Anything that is left over, the City is welcome to pick up and try making money out of it. Why is it "illegal" to do a bit of honest scavenging?

The people who come at night to pick through the cans are not drunks or drug addicts. They are ordinary people who are having a hard time making ends meet - so I'm incensed at the big "illegal" sign.

If by putting all the recyclables together in one pot it encourages more people to recycle, then I guess in the long run it is a better system. But are people going to be put out of work because a new machine is going to take over the sorting? I'm not sure I go along with that part of it.

It is a perplexing new system.