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Soil and Composting: Okay to compost old blown-in insulation?

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 11, Views: 100
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sarahn
Milton, NH
(Zone 5a)

October 17, 2010
12:13 PM

Post #8160766

We've got multi-trash bags full old blown in insulation that is now a powdery consistency. Has anyone else have experience with composting this?
kmom246
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

October 17, 2010
11:49 PM

Post #8161650

Can you be absolutely sure what it is made of? According to Bob Vila's website ( http://www.bobvila.com/HowTo_Library/Insulating_Old_Homes_Blow_In_Insulation_Options-Insulation-A1781.html ), it could be made of cellulose, fiberglass or foam. Although cellulose is a natural product, who knows what other chemicals are mixed with it so that it can be "blown." I personally would not use it in compost regardless of what it's made of. Just too many unknowns and to "chemically" sounding to me.
realbirdlady
Austin, TX
(Zone 8b)

October 18, 2010
2:42 PM

Post #8162742

lordy - or urea formaldehyde, or rock wool with asbestos or vermiculite, or probably other deadly things as well... (Powdery kinda sounds like rock wool, fwiw.) You'll be doing good if they let you put it in the landfill instead of treating it as hazardous. I wouldn't chance it in my yard. Be sure to wear a dust mask when you're handling the bags.
sarahn
Milton, NH
(Zone 5a)

October 18, 2010
3:54 PM

Post #8162881

We had it checked out, it's cellulose, the old ground up newspaper stuff.
kmom246
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

October 19, 2010
6:16 AM

Post #8163902

Technically, then, I suppose it would be OK - but I still wouldn't use it myself. Just my opinion.

tapla

tapla
Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

October 19, 2010
7:47 AM

Post #8164106

You can bet it's been treated with a fire retardant ...

Al
kmom246
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

October 19, 2010
4:43 PM

Post #8164945

Oh, good point about that.
sarahn
Milton, NH
(Zone 5a)

October 19, 2010
5:04 PM

Post #8164998

So, I take it fire retardent is toxic?

citybusgardener

citybusgardener
( Pam ) Portland, OR

October 20, 2010
6:36 AM

Post #8165804

toxic..yes.

Toxic Flame Retardants (PBDEs)
Why should I be concerned?

* PBDES are in blood, breast milk, and umbilical cord blood.
* Laboratory animals exposed to PBDEs show deficits in learning and memory.
* PBDEs affect thyroid levels in laboratory animals and in wildlife, and may cause birth defects.

http://pollutioninpeople.org/toxics/pbdes

and here's a little more:
http://www.ewg.org/reports/inthedust

A few years ago there were studies implicating fire retardant in furniture and carpeting, as being a cause of hyperthyroidism in cats, since they are small and close to the floor, the toxic levels shows up sooner than it would in an adult human.
Here's where it got very interesting. I am a Graves' disease patient and long time member of several large online forums. So, as you might guess we all started talking...I was shocked at how many of my fellow patients had new wall to wall carpet installed shortly before diagnosis. It takes a combination of such things to cause an autoimmune disease to surface, never just one thing. But there will generally be the 'straw that broke the camel's back'. The time when it just became too much for the body to deal with.

No.. I don't wear a tin foil hat.. but I'm willing to consider the fact that for some, the additional rise in PBDE levels in their homes could well have been a contributing factor. The studies are ongoing.

Not a healthy thing to have in the garden, that's for sure. For yourself and for future generations living there.
sarahn
Milton, NH
(Zone 5a)

October 20, 2010
6:27 PM

Post #8166909

Wow! I did not know any of that! Thanks for informing me, I try to keep as much toxic stuff out of me and my immediate environment.

citybusgardener

citybusgardener
( Pam ) Portland, OR

October 21, 2010
1:59 AM

Post #8167370

It was a great question. Thanks for asking. :) I'm sure others will find this interesting as well.

I was aware on a low level of concern, then a few years ago they did a Jean-Michel Cousteau special on PBS, here they explained they have found ... here...I found a link so I explain it correctly.

-- During a recent expedition, Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society team discovered an alarming fact: many populations of killer whales are contaminated with toxic, synthetic chemicals known as PBDEs, or flame retardants. --

http://www.toxicflameretardants.org/

We can't avoid it completely, but awareness can make a big difference.
sarahn
Milton, NH
(Zone 5a)

October 21, 2010
4:40 PM

Post #8168508

Good to know.

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