Chuck Ross, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) has issued the following statement:



Alison Kosakowski, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, 802-828-2179

Monday, August 6, 2012

“VAAFM is in the midst of an independent investigation to determine the source of persistent herbicides, including picloram and clopyralid, found in samples of compost made at Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) facilities.

The focus of our investigation is to determine if these products were used in a manner that complies with state and federal regulations. If misuse is detected within the state, we will take appropriate regulatory action. Once the investigation is complete, we will have information to provide guidance to growers and compost producers.

It is also possible that the use of these herbicides occurred outside state lines, and that they were introduced to CSWD via imported matter. If that is the case, we will attempt to trace that matter back to its point of origin and bring the issue to the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) provides a mechanism for state regulatory agencies to report evidence of adverse impacts from pesticide use to EPA.

VAAFM is a member of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO), which is currently working with the EPA to address the issue of persistent herbicides in compost at a national level.

We understand the public has concerns about the impact of these herbicides. The Health Department has analyzed lab test results provided by CSWD. Levels of herbicides detected in the compost are far lower than levels that would increase risk of harm to human health, but are enough to affect some plants such as tomatoes, potatoes and beans. At this time, there have been no reports of impacted compost from commercial growers.

We will not have any further information to share until our investigation concludes.”