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 Sluggo safe? or.......... 
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1320
Location: Portland, OR
Post Sluggo safe? or..........
I read the research off another list. The guy who wrote this is someone I really respect and who is fair, well-thought out and comes to conclusions slowly and with deliberation. His response showed this-

Today, I received a nasti-gram from Neudorff, the company that manufactures iron phosphate slug bait (Sluggo). They are accusing me of defamation, claiming I have no scientific evidence for my claims.

My original post only highlighted the blog of Jeff Gillman from Washington State University Extension, assuming everyone would read it and find the sources. Since I didn't publish the sources, it's time I remedy this issue. Here are the Scientific papers that call out the problems with Sluggo:

1) The relative toxicity of metaldehyde and iron phosphate-based molluscicides to earthworms
Soil Ecology Laboratory, Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University,
400 Aronoff Laboratory, 318 West 12th Avenue,
Columbus, OH 43210, USA
University of Hawaii, 200 Kawili St., Hilo Hawaii 96720, USA ... n%2028.pdf
Slugs are suppressed by cereal flour-based baits or pellets containing metaldehyde, or containing iron phosphate plus chelating agents, which are also consumed by earthworms and other invertebrates. These studies compared the effects of metaldehyde and iron phosphate alone, with those of iron phosphate plus chelating agents EDDS and EDTA, and of the chelating agents alone on earthworms. OECD artificial soil test: Earthworms (Eisenia fetida) were exposed directly to the molluscicides in arti- ficial soil. The test chemicals were: metaldehyde; iron phosphate; ethyldiaminetetraceticacid (EDTA), ethylenediaminesuccinicacid (EDDS) and mixtures of iron phosphate and these latter two chemicals. LD50 values were more than 10,000 mg kg for metaldehyde and iron phosphate, 156.5 mg kg for EDTA, 145.6 mg kg for EDDS, 72.2 mg kg for iron phosphate/EDTA, and 83.0 mg kg for iron phosphate/EDDS.
Microcosm test: Four mature Lumbricus terrestris were exposed in each microcosm (15 cm diam. 30 cm deep) to pellets containing: no active ingredient; metaldehyde (4%); iron phosphate/EDTA (1%) (Sluggo); iron phosphate (3%); EDTA (3%); EDDS (3%). Metaldehyde and iron phosphate did not affect earthworm feeding, growth or mortality. Sluggo decreased earthworm feeding and caused loss of weight and mortality. Earthworms consumed fewer pellets containing EDDS or EDTA and lost weight.

2) Acute toxicity in five dogs after ingestion of a commercial snail and slug bait containing iron EDTA
SL Haldane*, RM Davis
Australian Veterinary Journal
Volume 87, Issue 7, pages 284–286, July 2009
This case series of five dogs describes the effects of ingesting large amounts of an iron EDTA snail-bait product. In all cases signs of toxicity occurred between 6 and 24 h after ingestion and included abdominal pain and haemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Two of the dogs had pretreatment serum iron levels measured and in both cases the levels were above normal limits. All of the dogs were treated with iron chelation therapy and supportive care including intravenous fluids, analgesics, gastric protectants and antibiotics. Chelation therapy with desferrioxamine mesylate did not cause adverse effects in any of the dogs and all survived to discharge. The effects of iron EDTA snail bait in dogs requires further study and minimum toxic doses need to be established.

3) The 2007 NOSB has this objection to EDTA: "EDTA is not degraded rapidly in the environment and is the most abundant anthropogenic chemical in some European surface waters accessed 1 August 07). Its strong chelating power can enhance the movement of metals such as Zn, Cd, Ni, Cr, Cu and Fe in soil and river sediments. EDTA is very soluble in water and is not sequestered in municipal sewage treatment plants (Frank and Rau 1990, in petition). The biodegradation rate strongly depends on the metal complexed to the EDTA. Ca and Mg complexes are easier to degrade than Cu and Fe for example (see EU Commission risk assessment on EDTA p 12 in petition). Photo degradation appears easier. However, the high solubility in water can limit the time exposed to sunlight. Since EDTA is inert under some environmental conditions and rapidly degrades under other conditions (very alkaline water - such as in waste water treatment from paper pulp mills (EU Commission risk assessment on EDTA), some environmental accumulations must occur."
See ... RDC5066636

Finally, note that Australia requires EDTA to be listed in the equivalent Australian products, since without EDTA, the product would be completely ineffective.

Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

I personally agree with this post. I think we need to think about if Sluggo, etc. is as safe as we were led to believe.
John S

Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:55 pm

Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 414
Location: SW Washington
Post Re: Sluggo safe? or..........
Interesting. I took the product claims at face value.

Your post makes straight Iron Phospate sound like it might be the ticket, but apparently it is non-toxic even to slugs.

A little Google search brought me to this link: ... sphate.htm

Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:55 pm

Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:09 pm
Posts: 16
Location: NE Portland, Oregon
Post Re: Sluggo safe? or..........
I just purchased a couple of large bottles on subsequent trips to a retailer going out of business.
(Rain or Shine, vacating before the end of the month, having a reprieve from the 15th, NE Portland area. )
I guess I was lucky that the 25 and 50# sacks were off the shelf when first perusing.

Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:50 pm
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