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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