Here are the top 10 Permitted Chemicals in Organic Farming
The USDA has outlined a list of permitted chemicals, along with where and in what circumstances they can be used. All farms seeking to get certification as organic must comply with permitted chemical laws. Not all farms use these chemicals, and those that do may only use them sparingly or in emergency situations. None of the below listed chemicals are known to contain heavy metals or to have adverse affects on the environment during their manufacture, use or disposal.
Alcohols that include ethanol and isopropanol are permitted in organic farming for use as a disinfectant, algicide and sanitizer. These alcohols are approved for use during irrigation system cleaning.
2. Copper Sulfate
Copper sulfate is used in several applications in organic farming. These include:
• Use as an algicide for aquatic rice systems, provided it is issued only once per 24 months
• For tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice systems, provided it is issued only once per 24 months
• As plant disease control, provided it is used in a way that minimizes the amount of copper left in the soil
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is allowable in organic farming for two uses:
• Pest control
• As a disinfectant, algicide and sanitizer for irrigation systems
Both elemental sulfur and lime sulfur are allowed for use in several areas of organic farming. All areas where either type of sulfur is used are limited to pest control or soil amendments. Sulfur dioxide may also be used as a pest control, but only as a smoke bomb for underground rodent control.
The use of soaps is allowed for large animal control, provided that no soap comes in contact with the food product. Soap is also allowed for use as:
• Herbicides for roadways provided no soap comes in contact with soil
• Herbicides for ornamental crops
6. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 can be introduced to organic farming, not as a supplement in nutrition but as a slug and snail bait, as well as for plant disease control.
7. Boric Acid
Boric acid is allowed on organic farms, but only as an insecticide for structural buildings. No contact with soil or crops is permitted.
8. Lignin Sulfonate
Lignin sulfonate is used as a soil amendment. It is specified for use as a chelating agent, dust suppressant and a floatation agent. It may also be used in post-harvest handling as a floating agent.
9. Magnesium Sulfate
Magnesium sulfate is allowed as a supplement to the soil in case of a deficiency. It is only allowed, however, once the deficiency has been documented by a third party.
Streptomycin is allowed on apples and pears only. It is used to fight fire blight, a bacterial infestation.
Other Chemicals Permitted in Organic Farming
Several other chemicals may be used in organic farming, provided they are only used for their stated purpose.
• Tetracycline: For fire blight control
• Peracetic acid: For fire blight control
• Hydrated lime: For plant disease control
• Oils: For plant disease control
• Potassium bicarbonate: For plant disease control
• Humic acids: As a soil amendment
• Micronutrients: As a soil amendment once a deficiency has been documented
• Sulfates: As a soil amendment
• Ethylene gas: For regulation of pineapple flowering
• Sodium silicate: For tree fruit and fiber processing in post-harvesting
• Liquid fish products: As a soil amendment
• Pheromones: As insect management
• Ammonium carbonate: As bait in insect traps
• Ozone gas: For irrigation system cleaning
• Chlorine materials: For irrigation system cleaning
• Calcium hypochlorite: For irrigation system cleaning
• Sodium hypochlorite: For irrigation system cleaning