Milorganite Safety

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  • DAILY testing and analysis to guarantee safety
  • Extreme heat and dryness kills pathogens
  • Regulated by the EPA and awarded "Exceptional Quality" status

Your safety is an extremely important consideration in the production of Milorganite.  Milorganite meets the most stringent criteria imposed on any fertilizer product for health, safety and environmental concerns.  Milorganite complies with all federal and state limits, which allows Milorganite to be used with confidence for all of your fertilizing needs, including grass, trees, shrubs, flowers, and vegetables.  

U.S. EPA and State Standards

Milorganite is intensively analyzed to ensure compliance with all applicable standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and every state in which Milorganite is sold.   Metals and PCBs are analyzed daily.   As shown by the table, metals concentrations in Milorganite are much less than allowed for an Exceptional Quality product.  

For PCBs, Milorganite holds itself to a standard of 1 part per million, which is stricter than any applicable limit.  In addition to metals and PCBs, routine analysis occurs for numerous other pollutants and pathogens.  To view Milorganite's Safety Data Sheet.

Metals and Fertilizer Micronutrients - Milorganite vs. U.S. EPA Limits

Metals and Fertilizer
U.S. EPA Exceptional
Quality Limits
2015 Milorganite Average
Arsenic 41 mg/kg 3.5 mg/kg
Cadmium 39 mg/kg 0.93 mg/kg
Chromium No limit 230 mg/kg
Copper* 1,500 mg/kg 250 mg/kg
Lead 300 mg/kg 44 mg/kg
Mercury 17 mg/kg 0.48 mg/kg
Molybdenum* 75 mg/kg 11 mg/kg
Nickel 420 mg/kg 30 mg/kg
Selenium 100 mg/kg 4.2 mg/kg
Zinc* 2,800 mg/kg 540 mg/kg
*essential micronutrients

The Truth About Metals

Heavy metals like cadmium, copper and zinc are naturally occurring in our everyday environment. Several of these metals are actually micronutrients that are needed in small amounts for plants to grow and reproduce. The concern with heavy metals in fertilizer is keeping their concentrations under limits deemed safe by EPA regulators. Milorganite is the “gold standard” of biosolid fertilizers, with 90 years of experience producing a product that is both safe and effective.  For more information on the reduction of heavy metals in Milorganite visit our History page.

Heat Drying Kills Pathogens

Milorganite is heat-dried in twelve rotary dryers that operate between 900⁰F and 1200⁰F. This extreme heat and dryness kills pathogens.  Find out more on How We Make It.

Safe for Children and Pets - No Salts or Pesticides

Milorganite is formulated without salts or pesticides.  The key elements of Milorganite are simple: organic matter and nutrients.   It will not burn.  It will not hurt your family or the environment.  For more information visit the Children and Pets page.

Slow Release Phosphorous

Phosphorus in runoff can cause excessive algae problems in lakes and streams.  However, phosphorus is an essential nutrient and is an important part of any fertilizing program.  The challenge is getting the phosphorus right.   Research conducted by the University of Florida shows that phosphorous in Milorganite behaves differently than phosphorous in synthetic fertilizer.  The phosphorus in Milorganite releases slowly, as plants need it.  The phosphorus in Milorganite is predominantly insoluble: It stays in your lawn or garden helping your plants grow, instead of moving into groundwater or storm water where it can cause problems.  

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products

As a product of the water reclamation process, biosolids may contain various pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Milorganite is a leader in investigating the risk caused by these compounds.  

Although detectable, concentrations of these compounds are extremely small.  These micro-impurities have a long pathway to travel before human exposure: from water reclamation to Milorganite production to soil application to plant growth to harvest to consumption.  This long process reduces the risk that these micro-impurities will harm human health and the environment. 

For example, research at the University of Florida studied the fate of Triclosan, a commonly used anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent used in products ranging from soap to toothpaste.  The study measured the amount of Triclosan in corn, tomatoes, carrots, and lettuce grown using Milorganite.   While some Triclosan did appear in the vegetables, concentrations were extremely low, with corn having the highest concentration.   A 154 pound person could eat up to 1,249 pounds of corn a day without any adverse effect.  Thus, the risk from Triclosan exposure from Milorganite® is extremely small.