In remaining Earthfriendly… and just plain smart… avoid any commercial product manufactured for the purpose of being ingested by slugs. Don’t believe any of that crap about their product only being toxic to a certain species of slug or whatever. All products intended to kill anything are toxic to the ecosystem and other animals including humans, even though they are advertised as being otherwise.
Product manufacturers commonly greenwash their products. They utilize legislative loopholes provided by the EPA and other agencies to make their dangerous products appear “environmentally safe” and “non-toxic”. But all their claims of ecofriendliness are nothing more than legal lies.
- The EPA is notorious for not requiring testing for certain substances, nor do they require that certain substances be listed on product labels.
- Iron phosphate (the active ingredient listed on many slug and snail products) in and of itself is toxic… as this article shows:
- As if that is not enough, to make their products even more toxic, manufacturers chelate the iron phosphate with a chemical called Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), it becomes very much more toxic… in fact so toxic that it also indiscriminately and effectively kills earthworms and other critters in your garden. If there is one thing in your garden you do not want to kill besides your plants… it is your earthworms! EDTA is a very bad substance.
- And here is another must read for anybody considering using any kind of slug kill product… The relative toxicity of metaldehyde and iron phosphate-based molluscicides to earthworms, from which I quote:
- Check out the 2007 formal recommendation by the National Organic Standards Board to the National Organic Program concerning Sodium Ferric Hydroxy EDTA as slug and snail bait… besides seeing their unanimous 15 vote NO, there is some good info here. Their supporting rationale being:
Recently a new slug bait product has hit the market. The product is advertised organic, pet and wildlife safe. The only potential toxic effect listed on the package is eye irritation. This product contains 1% iron phosphate and can result in iron toxicity in animals who consume it; the toxicity can result in severe gastro-intestinal distress and, in some cases, death.
Gardening with pets requires the gardener to be vigilant. 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.
Following this initial stage, animals can appear to be just fine when in fact they are not. Two to 12 hours after ingestion animals may suffer severe acid base disturbance. In 2-4 days animals will suffer from liver failure. Weeks later pets may develop an obstruction in their GI tract due to scar tissue formation caused by severe irritation from the iron toxicity.
Should your pet eat slug bait of any kind, call the Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card. If your pet begins showing signs of poisoning listed above, seek emergency medical care immediately.
Acute toxicity in five dogs after ingestion of a commercial snail and slug bait containing iron EDTA
Authors: Haldane, SL; Davis, RM
This case series of five dogs describes the effects of ingesting large amounts of an iron EDTA snail-bait product. In all cases signs of toxicity occurred between 6 and 24 h after ingestion and included abdominal pain and haemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Two of the dogs had pretreatment serum iron levels measured and in both cases the levels were above normal limits. All of the dogs were treated with iron chelation therapy and supportive care including intravenous fluids, analgesics, gastric protectants and antibiotics. Chelation therapy with desferrioxamine mesylate did not cause adverse effects in any of the dogs and all survived to discharge. The effects of iron EDTA snail bait in dogs requires further study and minimum toxic doses need to be established.
Source: Australian Veterinary Journal, Volume 87, Number 7, July 2009 , pp. 284-286(3)
Clearly, molluscicides containing iron phosphate and EDTA or EDDS chelating agents may present significant environmental hazards to earthworms, domestic animals and humans and these issues need further investigation.
Is not consistent with environmental and compatibility with organic farming OFPA criteria primarily due to the behavior of EDTA in the environment and the toxic chemicals used to manufacture.
Please remain vigilant and look at all promises and claims of ecofriendliness with highly dubious and skeptical eyes… especially when the intention of the product is to kill… manufacturers only try to make you think their product is safe because more and more people are becoming aware that our environment needs to be protected… their strategy seems to be nothing more than that if they don’t lie, then they will not make as many sales. Hopefully they will all go out of business sooner rather than later! 🙂
Here is an interesting looking book, Green Lies: How Greenwashing can destroy a company (and how to go green without the wash), written by Pascual Berrone (BA, B.Sc., Ph.D.), associate professor of strategic management and holder of the Schneider Electric Chair of Sustainability and Business Strategy at IESE Business School.
So, what can we do where slugs are a concern? I will be following this article up very soon with an article titled… Dealing With Slugs In The Garden.