Using Coal Waste in Agriculture

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A Coal Burning Electicity Generating Plant

Photo by: Arnold Paul

This method of disposing of waste from the nation’s coal fired electricity generating plants has been in the news a lot the past few weeks. The thing is I had thought I knew of this practice many years ago. But a Google search for: (agriculture “coal waste”), limited to the past month turns up 14,800 results detailing the use of flue gas desulfurization gypsum, (FDG Gypsum), on food crops. I guess the USDA is beginning a new push to dispose of this waste that has been piling up around coal plants, but it is certainly not a new practice. This waste has in the past contained chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, and many other heavy metals.

The EPA, which is partnering with the USDA to promote this use made a statement saying basically that the heavy metals in the material are far less than the amount considered a threat to human health. I don’t know about you, but this does not ease my mind. One article I read quoted a farmer saying something along the lines of:

If a chemical is toxic, it’s got a skull and crossbones on it. This does not come with any such warning so it must be safe.

Well, I guess we have nothing to worry about, right?  When will we learn?  The first thing that comes to mind with this new push to dispose of the waste on U.S. farmland is this:  Does the USDA consider FDG Gypsum a material that can be used on organic crops?  I don’t know, but I would surely be worried about the possibility.

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Will Sig
1 Anna

I think here we need to worry about accumulation, sometimes body will not dispose all and will collect somewhere. And I think this is what many over look. Anna 🙂
.-= Anna´s last blog ..Digital Postcard Series: Melting Athabasca Glacier, Rocky Mountains, Canada =-.

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