Post by David Post by John Beardmore
Urea is a fertilised and formaldehyde a reactive volatile material that
probably won't hang around as formaldehyde for too long ?
Thank you John but 'probably' does seem a bit vague for a substance
rated as a carcinogen in certain forms.
:) Well, you'll usually encounter it as a solution or a gas...
These things can be hard to quantify. If you're serious about it, have
you tried to find dose / response curves for carcinogenic and toxic
The website below identifies it as a "probable human carcinogen", but
what isn't ? And is even dimly sensible to try and avoid all such ? At
what concentration should you start to care, or even apply the
'precautionary principle' ?
Post by David
Whether composting renders the
formaldehyde inert is the question,
or a question among others.
It may well not, but my point was more that it's volatile, so as it
forms by the decomposition of the polymer, the bulk of it may well
Keep in mind that this stuff isn't hugely carcinogenic. It's been
sloshed about in laboratories for decades, and people have generally
feared its acute corrosive toxicity much more than anything else. I've
been exposed to concentrations you can choke on a few times (probably
thousands of times more than you'd get in your compost), and I'm not
expecting to die of it. Many old biology labs used to stink of it.
Post by David
personally am not convinced that putting some of said compost on my
veggie patch is good for ones health.
Well, as long as it was well turned, and I didn't have to eat the
compost itself, moderate amounts wouldn't bother me. Though the point
you raise is one that those like Friends Of The Earth, who seem to think
that composting can play a much bigger part in waste disposal, would do
well to consider.
"Formaldehyde occurs in forest fires, animal wastes, microbial
products of biological systems, and plant volatiles. It can also
be formed in seawater by photochemical processes".
So - it's a natural product and fairly ubiquitous.
A quick google might get you some perspective on how much difference
your contribution might make ?
I guess you need to establish
how much material you have to dispose of
how much formaldehyde that will give off
how fast it will be given off
the concentration that will be reached in the pile
how you can control that by turning the compost
how much formaldehyde veg growing in the compost might take up
how long it persists in the veg
what happens when you cook the veg
how much harm that persisting formaldehyde might do to you.
It's an interesting question if you have to the time to research it.
Let us now what you find.
If it's not a silly question, have you asked NISP or the environment
As an alternative, can people that make MDF munge it up and make it back
into MDF, effectively reusing both the fibre and the polymer ?