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Allergic reaction to commercial soilless mix

Posted by RollingFogFarm NC 7b (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 0:47

I've used other seed starting mediums in the past, but this year, my local hardware superstore started carrying Burpee's Organic Seed Starting Mix. I'm trying to grow as organically as possible this year, so I bought several bags and have started about 10 flats of seedlings.

My hands have been dry and cracked all winter, so at first I didn't think anything of the slight burning sensation I've been having in my right hand. I also didn't think too much about how the right hand seems to be cracking and bleeding more, especially on the sides of my middle knuckles. But tonight, after a few days of healing, and immediately after starting two more flats, my knuckles are once again cracked, bleeding, and burn slightly, despite several handwashings.

Has anyone else experienced this?? I've never had an issue starting seeds without wearing gloves before this; should I have been wearing gloves? And exactly HOW "organic" can a mix be, if it causes this kind of reaction in my skin?

I'm a little worried about eating veggies from the plants I've already started. I'd appreciate any input you all have.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Allergic reaction to commercial soilless mix

Its possible that you might have a skin sensitivity to something in the mix. Just because its organic doesn't mean you can't be allergic to it. I doubt eating the veggies will cause you any problems. That said you might want to try a different brand of seed mix or wear gloves. I'm grow several things that I'm allergic to but I take precautions.

RE: Allergic reaction to commercial soilless mix

I've never had that reaction. But last year I bought some big bags of Miracle Grow.

I threw them on my shoulder to carry them and had a rash on my neck and face the next day.

The rash got a little better, then I carried the bags on my shoulder again to move them. The rash got worse.

It had to have came from the bags.

RE: Allergic reaction to commercial soilless mix

No personal experience with that particular mix but many of the so-called "organic" mixes do contain some ingredients that can be a cause of skin contact allergies - composted manures for example.

But please understand that "growing organically" does not mean you have to use seed starting mixes that are labeled "organic".

Most all seed starting mixes are organic. They contain nothing more than peat, coconut coir, vermiculite, and perlite - all organic substances and that is all that is needed for seed starting.

Growing mixes that contain fertilizers additives, if those fertilizers are synthetic, are another matter.


RE: Allergic reaction to commercial soilless mix

Thanks for the information and advice. Next year, I won't fall for that "organic" label either. :)

This post was edited by RollingFogFarm on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 16:33

RE: Allergic reaction to commercial soilless mix

Actually, you can get quite sick from potting media, garden soil, compost, etc. Lung and /or skin infections are not all that rare with nursery workers and others who have their hands in stuff like that all day. I had a young employee who developed a very serious problem not too long after working with our bark based nursery mix.

It was a long time ago and I no longer recall what the pathogen was...there are several to beware of that have nothing to do with manure or allergic reactions. The allergy issue, however, is very common!

See a doctor.

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