Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DOW Blue boards- NO NO NO!

Ever seen a classic raft tub system for either hydroponics or aquaponics? Facilities often use DOW blue rafts for floating plants. Great idea, right? Cheap, insulating, keeps light out preventing release of essential micro and macro nutrients into the environment….

WRONG. These materials are NOT food grade.

I always had my doubts.  My mother, who is incredibly wary of materials that may leach harmful chemicals into the environment, flipped when she first saw them and she had good reason to! 

Tons of facilities that grow hydroponic or aquaponic crops use these and love them.  These materials are NOT designed for this purpose and several companies have denied endorsement for the usage of their blue boards for aquaponic/hydroponic purposes. I also recently discovered that New York State regulations now require hydroponic/aquaponic productions to use food-grade plastics in place of these rafts.

The problem? The foam boards are designed for insulation inside houses- NOT for immersing in water. Polystyrene foam leaches toxins including BPA, phthalates, and styrene when placed in warm conditions.

Solution? Look for food grade plastics. Or redesign your system, preferably with ZERO plastics. The following company sells them precut and pre-holed. Don't ignore this- this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. 

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