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Asbestos Contaminated Potting Soil

Experienced gardeners and green thumb amateurs alike have all encountered potting soil mixes. What they may not realize is that one of the top three ingredients in potting soil, vermiculite, not only takes a carbon-intensive toll on the environment during processing but the mineral can also be laced with asbestos too.

The infamous and tragic story of Libby, Montana, home to the now defunct, former largest U.S. vermiculite mine, poisoned and wreaked havoc on their community due to asbestos contaminated vermiculate used in a variety of construction materials, in addition to potting mixes. Despite the low-level of contamination posed in potting soils, no amount of exposure, however small, is considered safe.

The growing popularity of urban gardening and plant enthusiasts has created a huge demand for potting soil. Unfortunately, it comes with potential risks to the environment and our health unless the horticulture industry replaces the problematic ingredients with safer alternatives which are becoming more and more readily available.

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