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Compost, Is It Safe


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Good evening everyone,

Could any of you knowledgeable people tell me whether compost is safe for the children to play with? One of my staff has said that they think that there is a lot of chemicals in it and the children should not be playing with it. I think that as we have been using it for several years to no adverse effect and the children are well supervised then I see no problems. What do you think?

 

Thanks

 

Lardylady

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Nonsense. Fresh compost is fine to use and I have been doing so for many years and will continue to. I'm assuming you mean commercially available compost, although our children are currently making their own in our compost bin and I will certainly allow them to handle that when it's 'cooked'

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It's an organic product, so there shouldn't be any chemicals in it at all. I don't think any compost makers add them anymore except for maybe feeds. If you go for peat free organic you are basically talking about mulched coconut fibre, bark, a bit of fully rotted material, so that is fine. Obviously you'd want them to wash their hands after using it. A bigger danger is cats soiling in the soil and then the children touching it.

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We recently did an activity where we planted different seeds. It said on every packet of compost that it must not be used/handled by children, however we decided to go ahead with the activity ensuring each child wore gardening gloves and washed their hands well after the activity.

 

Debbie

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Its like anything else isnt it, if you removed everything that could possibly ever cause a problem for a child, you'd never actually do anything.

 

Having said that, compost does come with some risk, however small. There have been incidences of legionnaires disease caught from shop bought compost. Inhaling mould from home made compost can also cause serious illness. It isn't chemicals that may cause a problems, its the bacteria, fungi, other microorganisms that can affect people with either low immune systems, skin allergies or respiratory problems.

 

Thats why most compost companies do recommend use of gloves and scrupulous hand washing afterwards.

I would never stop my children handling compost etc but it is worth being aware of potential risks.

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  • 8 months later...
Having said that, compost does come with some risk, however small. There have been incidences of legionnaires disease caught from shop bought compost. Inhaling mould from home made compost can also cause serious illness. It isn't chemicals that may cause a problems, its the bacteria, fungi, other microorganisms that can affect people with either low immune systems, skin allergies or respiratory problems.

 

That's interesting. One of the things on the long list of dos and don'ts with my chemo info is

'get someone else to change the flower water for you' I hadn't got around to asking why. Extending the idea I wonder if I should be gardening. Maybe only in the week the immune system is back up to normal.

 

Al

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Thats a really good point, whitetree, is this a conversation you can have with your oncologist? Myabe they have mentioned the flower water for a specific reason rather than gardening in general.

 

When my mum was having chemo, she found that the little energy she has was well spent pottering in the garden when she could. She always wore gloves if potting or pruning and washed thoroughly afterward. It may be one area where the benefit of getting outside and being able to potter like that (especially if its something you enjoy doing) outweigh the possible risk, but if in any doubt, check with the experts.

 

Hope you're coping OK with it whitetree.

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