Pesticides Popping Up in Unexpected Places -- How to Prevent Contamination
Founding 50 Chamber member Karyn Wagner of First MC Processing with help from Liz Davidson has been circulating this crucial information about preventing pesticide contamination. Even organic farmers could be prone to these pitfalls, so we have reproduced her post below.
Prop 64’s success brings legalization to California. With legalization comes regulation. We celebrate legalization and the opportunity to rid our industry of the bad actors that produce poisonous product and those degrading the environment.
And we have to start right now, with our own crops. We’ve received shocking lab reports, both about the quantity of pesticides showing up in our growers’ products, and worse, uncertainties about just HOW crops came to be contaminated.
Recently, all of California’s testing labs upgraded their standards to reflect standards set by Oregon and Washington for pesticide testing. Product that tests hot for pesticides cannot be sold in the legal market. This is a necessary step to protect the health of cannabis consumers. For instance, Myclobutanil, legal for use in California on grapes, almonds and strawberries is legally listed as a “general use pesticide,” but heating up the chemical, as is the case when smoking cannabis, converts Myclobutanil into hydrogen cyanide—a chemical weapon component!
You may have been hearing the reports. Over 80% of the NCA Cannabis source material is contaminated with pesticides. How is that possible?
At first I thought this was total exaggeration. Then I felt a certain smugness. As a manufacturer of concentrates and a distributor of flowers and one of the founders of Tea House Collective, I know our growers. They are environmentalists; they are small family farmers who they live on their land. No one uses pesticides! I assured our clients—big brand names who buy kilos of oil from us--about the cleanliness of our product. We are completely safe.
And then the test results started coming in: Myclobutanil, Pyrethrin,Fenoxycarb. WHAT?!
You know these growers. I know these growers. Some sit on environmental boards. Some have won awards. They don’t do pesticides. But their product is contaminated. How can this be?
Working with the former lab director for Steep Hill, now a consultant to First Mc Processing, as well as other industry colleagues, we have identified some of the areas of concern:
Clones If you purchase clones, please, please beware. Know your source! If those little babies were sprayed with miticide, they have absorbed it and it will remain in the plant tissues all the way through flowering. This is a major source of contamination. The same caution goes for any purchased nursery plant, even those grown from seed.
Sub-Contractors If you work with a sub-contractor, whether a friend minding your garden while you’re away or a share-cropper, be certain to educate them. They may not have the same sensibility as you do; some might just be trying to save their butts and the crop in an emergency infestation. If they spray while you are away, your crop will be unsaleable. It will be worthless.
Soil One possible avenue of contamination is the compost that people are trucking in to Humboldt from Sonoma County. We suspect that much of it comes from composted vineyard waste, which could be heavily contaminated with Myclobutanil.
The best option is to not buy soil, but to build it organically or biodynamically. If you must buy soil, make sure to have it tested if it hasn’t already been. (I understand Hostadt’s will be testing all soil this coming year. We will confirm this.)
Products from the Internet Just like prescription drugs, products sold over the internet from other countries such as Canada are frequently mislabeled, sometimes deliberately. That new organic pesticide promoted as the best thing ever? It could be that it is not organic at all. It could be Avid with a bogus label. This happens all the time. Beware the sales pitch and use only OMRI certified products.
What else can we do? At this moment we must be vigilant. Follow the links above to educate yourself on can be used and how. We must produce safe product for the legal market-- and all markets.
Who wants to poison people for profit?
Not the Humboldt I know and love. And not the Humboldt I promote.
If you have safe product please don’t hesitate to contact us. Kew@paradigmcannabis.com