Question: Please explain organic certification.
Answer: The following section would be a good read for you. It was taken from National List:Below I have highlighted the areas of the National List of allowed synthetic substances that pertain to pond liner and other plastics. We are kind of in uncharted territory with Aquaponics so just because it is not listed doesn't mean it's not allowed. As long as any synthetic substance meets the guidelines highlighted below than we do not expect to have any problem with certification. The blue highlight is the criteria that any synthetic product must meet to meet the certification. Highlighted in yellow is where it actually states that plastics are allowed as long as it is not Polyvinyl Chloride. Hope this makes sense.
§ 205.600 Evaluation criteria for allowed and prohibited substances, methods, and ingredients.
The following criteria will be utilized in the evaluation of substances or ingredients for the organic production and handling sections of the National List:
(a) Synthetic and nonsynthetic substances considered for inclusion on or deletion from the National List of allowed and prohibited substances will be evaluated using the criteria specified in the Act (7 U.S.C. 6517 and 6518).
(b) In addition to the criteria set forth in the Act, any synthetic substance used as a processing aid or adjuvant will be evaluated against the following criteria:
(1) The substance cannot be produced from a natural source and there are no organic substitutes;
(2) The substance's manufacture, use, and disposal do not have adverse effects on the environment and are done in a manner compatible with organic handling;
(3) The nutritional quality of the food is maintained when the substance is used, and the substance, itself, or its breakdown products do not have an adverse effect on human health as defined by applicable Federal regulations;
(4) The substance's primary use is not as a preservative or to recreate or improve flavors, colors, textures, or nutritive value lost during processing, except where the replacement of nutrients is required by law;
(5) The substance is listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when used in accordance with FDA's good manufacturing practices (GMP) and contains no residues of heavy metals or other contaminants in excess of tolerances set by FDA; and
(6) The substance is essential for the handling of organically produced agricultural products.
(c) Nonsynthetics used in organic processing will be evaluated using the criteria specified in the Act (7 U.S.C. 6517 and 6518).
§ 205.601 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.
In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop production: Provided, That, use of such substances do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. Substances allowed by this section, except disinfectants and sanitizers in paragraph (a) and those substances in paragraphs (c), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, may only be used when the provisions set forth in §205.206(a) through (d) prove insufficient to prevent or control the target pest.
(a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems.
(2) Chlorine materials— Except, That, residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
(i) Calcium hypochlorite.
(ii) Chlorine dioxide.
(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.
(3) Copper sulfate—for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.
(4) Hydrogen peroxide.
(5) Ozone gas—for use as an irrigation system cleaner only.
(6) Peracetic acid—for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material.
(7) Soap-based algicide/demossers.
(8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #–15630–89–4)—Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label.
(b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable.
(1) Herbicides, soap-based—for use in farmstead maintenance (roadways, ditches, right of ways, building perimeters) and ornamental crops.
(i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.
(ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)).
(c) As compost feedstocks—Newspapers or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.
(d) As animal repellents—Soaps, ammonium—for use as a large animal repellant only, no contact with soil or edible portion of crop.
(e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control).
(1) Ammonium carbonate—for use as bait in insect traps only, no direct contact with crop or soil.
(2) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #–1312–76–1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.
(3) Boric acid—structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops.
(4) Copper sulfate—for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.
(5) Elemental sulfur.
(6) Lime sulfur—including calcium polysulfide.
(7) Oils, horticultural—narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.
(8) Soaps, insecticidal.
(9) Sticky traps/barriers.
(10) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s—42922–74–7; 58064–47–4)—in accordance with approved labeling.
(f) As insect management. Pheromones.
(g) As rodenticides.
(1) Sulfur dioxide—underground rodent control only (smoke bombs).
(2) Vitamin D3.
(h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate (CAS # 10045–86–0).
(i) As plant disease control.
(1) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #–1312–76–1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.
(2) Coppers, fixed—copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, Provided, That, copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides.
(3) Copper sulfate—Substance must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation of copper in the soil.
(4) Hydrated lime.
(5) Hydrogen peroxide.
(6) Lime sulfur.
(7) Oils, horticultural, narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.
(8) Peracetic acid—for use to control fire blight bacteria.
(9) Potassium bicarbonate.
(10) Elemental sulfur.
(11) Streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only.
(12) Tetracycline, for fire blight control only and for use only until October 21, 2012.
(j) As plant or soil amendments.
(1) Aquatic plant extracts (other than hydrolyzed)—Extraction process is limited to the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide; solvent amount used is limited to that amount necessary for extraction.
(2) Elemental sulfur.
(3) Humic acids—naturally occurring deposits, water and alkali extracts only.
(4) Lignin sulfonate—chelating agent, dust suppressant, floatation agent.
(5) Magnesium sulfate—allowed with a documented soil deficiency.
(6) Micronutrients—not to be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant. Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed. Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.
(i) Soluble boron products.
(ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt.
(7) Liquid fish products—can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5.
(8) Vitamins, B1, C, and E.
(9) Sulfurous acid (CAS # 7782–99–2) for on-farm generation of substance utilizing 99% purity elemental sulfur per paragraph (j)(2) of this section.
(k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas—for regulation of pineapple flowering.
(l) As floating agents in postharvest handling.
(1) Lignin sulfonate.
(2) Sodium silicate—for tree fruit and fiber processing.
(m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.
(1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern.
(2) EPA List 3—Inerts of unknown toxicity—for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.
(n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride (CAS # 7647–01–0)—for delinting cotton seed for planting.
(o) As production aids. Microcrystalline cheesewax (CAS #'s 64742–42–3, 8009–03–08, and 8002–74–2)–for use in log grown mushroom production. Must be made without either ethylene-propylene co-polymer or synthetic colors.
Is your crawl space encapsulated? Does your crawl space look anything like this? Does it smell like old moldy sox, dead rodents or worse? Just because you have plastic sheeting on the floor doesn't mean your crawl space is correctly encapsulated.
What is the definition of "encapsulation"?
It is, "to enclose or to be enclosed in or as if in a capsule". The idea being you want the crawl space to become sealed in a sense so it can keep out moisture, mold and hazzardous gases such as methane, radon, etc.
Tip #1: Use engineered plastic sheeting that is designed to hold up year after year- blocking out mold, radon, water vapor and the like. (Click here to see Crawlspace 1800, VaporBlock 20+ and more.) In the image directly below, a 6 mil "visqueen" was used. Chances are good the home owner did this job himself. He bought big box store plastic, and merely laid it on his crawl space. This plastic is maybe 4 years old. It has torn, and started to decay. Nowhere was this so called vapor barrier taped to the walls, and the seams were not taped closed.
Tip #2: Tape the vapor barrier to the walls and colums. As you can see from the images below, the plastic sheeting is pulling away from the post. Somehow, laying it next to the column or post just doesn't do the job. You need to use a proper sealing tape designed for this job.
Tip #3: See Tip # 1. If you have a rocky floor you are sealing, you must select a vapor barrier that holds up to rocks. It's even more important if you plan to store things in your crawl space, and people will be walking around down there.
Tip 4: Properly tape the seams closed. We recommend a minimum of 6" of overlap taped to the length of the seam.
Tip #5: Got Mold? Crawl spaces are a breeding ground for mold. Mold like dark, damp places to breed. It also likes the off-gases from visqueen. Don't waste your money on the wrong vapor barrier. Make sure the liner you select won't decompose and let the mold take over your crawl space.
Tip #6: If you live in an area that has radon, please make sure you protect yourself and your family from the effects of radon. VaporBlock 20+ is a heavy duty liner that is tested to insure it is the highest quality vapor barrier you can get to block radon and methane gas.
Tip #7: If you are buying a home that is brand new construction, make sure you have the builder provide you with proof that the home is radon free.
Aquaponics is all the rage! It is booming all over the world! People are creating aquaponics systems out of aquariums and making grow beds lined with fish-safe plastic sheeting. Some state of the art facilities are taking SolaWrap- the bubble film that allows plants to grow like no other and creating a green house for aquaponics.
Below is a picture of a grow bed lined with Dura-Skrim 20WW. It is our best selling film for use in Aquaponics! It is strong, and it won't kill your fish from toxic off-gasing.
Where are some of the largest aquaponics farms you ask? One of the world's largest (reportedly) commercial aquaponics project is said to be in Abu Dhabi. The center produces 60,000 heads of lettuce in 21 days! The image below is not from that farm, but from a farm in the United States. Check out that gorgeous lettuce!
Aquaponics farms are cropping up in the most unusual places! Did you know the Hamm's Brewery building in St Paul MN utilized 6 floors to create a giant aquaponics facility?
According to Wikipedia, aquaponics has "ancient roots"...I don't think a pun was intended there...The Aztecs created and cultivated islands known as chinampas which some say was the first form of aquaponics for agricultural use. Plants were raised on isands in lade shallows and the waste material dredged from the Chinampa canals were used to manually irrigate the plants.
Thailand, South China and Indonesia cultivated and farmed rice in paddy fields along with fish to create early examples of aquaponics systems.
Schools are setting up systems to teach children about farming both fish and vegetables. It's a project that brings great pride and joy to school children. They can witness first hand what it takes to grow their own head of lettuce in water.
If you would like to know more about creating your own aquaponics system small or large, please call Ken Aguilar at Global Plastic Sheeting- 866 597 9298. He knows all about it, and he will be happy to help you.
So often new home buyers make the assumption that the brand new construction home they are buying protects them from radon. That assumption could be further from the truth. Consider buying a home from a home builder that build radon-resistant new construction homes!
More and more home builders across the United States are building new homes that prevent radon from entering the home. Home builder's have come to realize that their customers need a safer, healthier, radon-resistant home. The EPA has launched a campaign that promotes the concept that living green is also breathing clean, healthy indoor air. It is environmentally responsible to chose to protect familys' from lung cancer.
What's the big deal about radon? Radon is extremely dangerous because it is odorless and an invisible gas that ranks as the number one home hazards for American homes, according to a Harvard University study. While radon dissipates outside in an open air environment, it gets trapped inside homes and buildings. Hazardous radon levels are detected in one out of 15 American homes. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The U.S. surgeon General has made January "Radon Action Month".
If you are buying an older home you can hire a radon professional to do an inspection. Find certified professionals with the National Environmental Health Association-National Radon Proficiency Program or the National Radon Safety Board.
Let's see how much you know about Radon! Answer these True or False questions.
- Radon levels within a building often change on a day-to-day basis. (True or False) True: Because of changes and air pressure through-out the building during different times of the year Radon levels in the home can increase or decrease
- The highest indoor levels are often found during the winter when you are using heat to warm your home. (True or False) True: This is because during the winter months most homes windows and doors are closed with a thus creating for lack of air flow trapping Radon and other natural occurring gases inside the home.
- Short term test kits are the quickest way to test your home for radon. (True or False) True: They will give you a quick reading, but reading over time are more reliable.
- 24 hours is enough time to determine if your home has a radon problem. (True or False) False: You need at least 48 hours at a minimum.
- There are long term tests that remain in your home for more than 90 days, and are more effective than short term tests. (True or False) True because radon levels vary depending on the weather, etc.
- If a long-term test yield results of 4pCi/L or higher, the EPA recommends correcting the problem. (True or False) True
- The best place to test for radon is n the lowest part of the home. (True or False) True: Because Radon is a natural occurring gas created by decomposing Uranium underground the highest amounts of Radon Gases enter your home would be coming from the lowest point.
- It is smart to also test rooms that are regularly occupied such as a family room, den, etc. (True or False) True- It's important to be safel in your whole house.
So you live in a state that has statewide Radon-Resistant New Construction- RRNC Codes? As of June, 2014, the EPA list the following states: Illinois | Maryland | Michigan | Minnesota | New Jersey | Oregon | Washington.
There are 18 states that DO NOT have statewide RRNC codes, but DO have local jurisdictions that have RRNC codes. They are: Alabama | Colorado | Idaho | Iowa | Kansas | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | New Mexico | New York | Ohio | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | South Carolina | Tennessee | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
There are 24 states and 3 District/Territories that DO NOT have statewide or local jurisdictions that have RRNC codes. They are: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CT, DE, DC, GA, GU, HI, IN, KY, LA, MA, MS, NV, NH, NC, ND, PR, SD, TX, UT and VT.
What are some of the things a builder should do to make a Radon-Resistant New Construction home?
1. GRAVEL: A layer of clean, coarse gravel below the foundation.
2. Plastic Sheeting or Vapor Retarder: A heavy duty plastic sheeting or vapor retarder over the gravel to inhibit radon and other soil gases from entering the home. What is the best vapor barrrier that is specifically engineered to block radon, and has the tests to prove it? VaporBlock 20+. This vapor retarder/barrier far exceeds any 6 mil polyethylene plastic.
3. A Vent Pipe: A vent pipe installed vertically from the gravel layer through the house's conditioned space and roof. This safely vents radon and other soil gases outside hte hosue.
4. Sealing and Calking: Sealed all openings, creacks and crevices in the concrete foundation and walls with polyurethane caulk to prevent radon and other soil gases from entering the home.
5. Junction Box: Installed an electrical junction box (outlet) in the attic for use with a vent fan, should, after tesing for radon, an more robust system be needed.
Check out the EPA's website to learn more about controlling radon in your home.