[Compostteas] Safety

Frank Teuton fteuton at sympatico.ca
Tue Jun 11 13:50:30 EDT 2002

Hi Bill,

The risk of E. coli in compost tea is, to be blunt, overblown as far as I
have read and understood.

If the start materials are free of E. coli in significant amounts, and the
conditions maintained in an aerobic state, then the resultant tea ought to
be basically free of E. coli in significant amounts. I'd be more worried
about washing my hands, and all the wild and domesticated animals, than
about compost tea.

Re other biological and biologically derived materials you might encouter
from compost tea spraying, there must certainly be many of them, eh?

Whether or not any of them, or the whole soup taken as a whole, constitute a
health risk or a health benefit, is up in the air, at this particular point
in time.

Having exposed myself rather often now in the last few weeks, I notice that
when the prevailing winds blow a fair amount of Merry Microbe Mist over my
end of the tractor, and get it into my hair and on my skin, that I notice a
certain softness and shininess in the hair, and a rosy feeling of well being
in the skin.

Since what we are doing is the intentional creation of what we want to be
beneficial bioaerosols of compost organisms for our plants, it is not
completely unreasonable to look into the problems and possibilities of
bioaerosols generally.

This site offers some info:


In the past, compost bioaerosol issues have been basically about Aspergillus
fumigatus near composting facilities, which can cause problems for immune
deficient individuals (Boy in the bubble, AIDS patients, etc.)

Since compost tea spraying is in its infancy, there has likely not been
sufficient experience to generate data regarding workers who are exposed to
tea bioaerosols on a daily basis and without protection, as to either risks
or benefits.

But, if you have the equipment already and are using tea on a scale such
that you need to be applying it for a large amount of time, limiting your
exposure could be a prudent thing to do.

Just enough to soften your hair and keep your skin youthful, I suggest...:-)

Hope that helps,

Frank Teuton

----- Original Message -----
From: <wpb at sympatico.ca>
To: <compostteas at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 9:12 PM
Subject: [Compostteas] Safety

> Hello, I'm new to the list, and as a commercial grape grower, would like
> to know what precautions, if any are being taken, while everyone is
> spraying their ct ? With the risk of ecoli, and who knows what else,
> since this isn't an exact science, I would be hard pressed not to wear
> the same air-supplied helmet, Tyvek suit, rubber gloves, etc..  that
> would be worn with chemical pesticides. Any opininions?
> Thanks
> Bill Baranick

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