[Market-farming] treated seeds consequences

Richard Robinson rrobinson at nasw.org
Thu Jun 12 15:11:26 EDT 2008

 On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 18:49:21 -0600, E C GRANATA wrote:
> Folks:  I inadvertedly planted some seeds, unmarked, that were treated.  My
> questions:  what effect does this have?  I know it will "pollute" the soil
> and eventually drain into the water table.  But what will it do to the plant
> (bean)?  Will there be residue in the beans themselves?  Should I destroy the
> plant after harvest instead of putting it into the compost pile or tunrning
> it in?

Do you know what the seeds were treated with? If beans, I'm guessing most likely it was a fungicide. Here's a website with some information that may be useful:


I don't know how the organic regs deal with this question, but if that's not a concern, my own inclination would be to not worry any more about it. The amount of fungicide per seed is quite small. It is likely to be largely confined to the seed coat, which will either remain in the soil after the cotyledons emerge, or to be dropped off by them as they sprout. Any small amount that penetrates to the cotyledons or the root tip would be so small, that it is likely to be dwarfed by the toxins we all ingest daily from just living in the world we do. I don't know what the half-life of the chemical used is, but it's pretty likely that, by harvest time, it's all broken down anyway. I wouldn't worry at all about composting.

If you really want something to worry about, ask yourself (as I do) what the effect is of all that rotenone we've been exposed to. Rotenone is used to induce Parkinson's disease in rats.

 Richard Robinson

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