Persistent Herbicide (PH) Statement

As you may be aware, McGill has experienced an issue with a persistent herbicide (PH) tainting our compost this spring, distributed by resellers in the North Carolina Triangle and Triad areas, creating damage to certain plants.

These retailers were not aware of this contamination, which occurred prior to transport of feedstock material to the McGill facility.  But we are working together to help answer questions and support those customers who purchased tainted compost.

We are spending time and resources to do our best to determine which feedstocks may be tainted with chemicals that are defined as a persistent herbicide.  To address any confusion with the source/use of these chemicals, PHs have no purpose for composting and are never intentionally used in the composting process.

The culprits are herbicides primarily used in animal pastures. This taints the manures, grasses, and animal bedding, which are then sent to composting facilities.  These chemicals are also occasionally used in commercial and residential landscaping applications.

As we do not use any manures, grasses, or bedding from farm animals in our process, we are focused on determining what feedstock(s) is causing this issue.

Regarding any concerns of safely eating fruit from impacted plants, all research we have studied states the fruit from impacted plants is not harmful for human consumption.  To obtain additional information about the challenges these chemicals are presenting to the composting industry, please visit the US Composting Council’s website https://www.compostingcouncil.org/page/PersistentHerbicides and click on the Persistent Herbicide Fact-Sheet, which will provide additional details.

These persistent herbicide chemicals do the most damage on sensitive plants like tomato, peas, and beans.  Most other vegetable plants, flowers, shrubs, and grasses have not shown damage when compost tainted with persistent herbicides are applied.

We hope this information provides answers to common PH questions.

Again, we do not use any type of herbicides in or on our compost or in our facility.  The only thing we add to composting feedstocks is air and water.  This ensures the microbes responsible for biodegradation are provided the ideal environment to effectively turn these materials into the compost we have been selling for almost 30 years.

Our focus is and has always been to produce an environmentally safe product that improves and creates healthy soils, which results in healthy plants.

Help stop PH contamination

The U.S. Composting Council (USCC) needs your help.  On July 6, the U.S. EPA will close its comment period for Pesticide Registration Review.  Clopyralid Herbicide is a persistent herbicide and is entering our composting facilities from different sources of feedstock beyond our control. This can be a significant risk to the industry. Please educate yourself on this issue and act to inform the EPA to make changes in this product’s registration!

To learn more and help the USCC visit: https://www.compostingcouncil.org/general/custom.asp?page=PH-Comment-now