Blue pellets in the meadows along the Eyach River in Balingen are worrying dog owners. They suspected poison. The city gives all the clarity: It’s a blue pill, an industrial fertilizer. But how dangerous is it if animals or children accidentally eat it?
Balingen – Blaue Körner has discovered a woman walking her dog between Schellenbergbrücke and an employment agency on newly planted plots of grass as part of preparations for a gardening show.
The dog’s owner suspected the worst, assuming that the poison was used for insect control. What she doesn’t understand is why the city of Balingen doesn’t put up any warning signs in such a situation: “It’s not just about the health of dogs, it’s also about the health of children who play,” she said in her editorial. Team.
Blue grains as fertilizer for weed
However, an investigation of the city administration gave everything clear: it was just a herbal fertilizer, or rather, blue beans. Annette Style, Artistic Director of Balingen Garden Show 2023, explains that this is “a mineral fertilizer, due to the characteristics of its products, intended for use in horticulture and arable land.”
However, the scattered blue beans pose no danger to humans or animals, Style asserts: “Of course, this fertilizer is approved for use in public places and the usual compost used in horticultural production – eg vegetables, flowers and grass – was used in the correct edited dose.”
The blue grain has been used in various mixtures for shrubs, perennials and lawns, adds Stiehle’s colleague at the Garden Show, Annette Stoll-Zeitler, Head of Exhibitions and Operations Divisions. In addition: “We want to open a beautiful garden fair in 2023.”
What is blue grain made of?
What Is Blue Cereal Made Of Anyway? The so-called NPK fertilizer is a mixture of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium salts. The proportions vary depending on the composition. Gottfried May Stormer, an expert at the Bund for Environmental and Nature Conservation (BUND) in Baden-Württemberg, explains that Blaukorn is not a pesticide, “but it is a fertilizer, so it’s not initially designed to kill life.” However, small blue balls are not completely harmful, because mineral fertilizers contain concentrated salts.
In particular, the potassium content and possibly the nitrate are problematic in large quantities, says Uwe Stedtler of the Poisons Information Center (VIZ) at the University Hospital Freiburg. If you ingest the manure, the most common effect is irritation of the mucous membranes, “that is, burning in the mouth and throat, nausea and vomiting,” the doctor describes the symptoms. With an intake of less than 1 gram of blue pills per kilogram of body weight, toxicity is not expected in healthy people.
What are the symptoms of poisoning?
“After accidental ingestion of common household fertilizer salts, symptoms of toxicity are not expected,” says Eleni Komini, MD, chief medical officer of the Center for Children and Adolescent Medicine at the Schwarzwald Barr Clinic. After ingestion of more than 1 gram per kilogram of body weight, diarrhea and electrolyte shifts (blood salt changes) are theoretically possible and in infants, methemoglobinemia is possible in the first 3 months of life. This means an increased concentration of methemoglobin in the blood.
“In addition, disorders of the cardiovascular system can also occur,” says Christina Schwara, a spokeswoman for the HELIOS Clinic in Pforzheim, which has its own specialty area of pediatric and adolescent medicine. In this case, according to the spokeswoman, you should visit the emergency room or alert emergency services.
What do you do if you swallow a blue pill?
If you swallow some manure, you should drink plenty of fluids afterward. “Taking this amount can be a little more difficult if patients have impaired kidney function or G6PD deficiency (Metabolic defect, editor’s note) suffers,” says VIZ’s Stedtler.
Treatment is directed toward symptoms after swallowing a larger amount, explains the Freiburg expert. “Even in such cases, plenty of fluids should be given and, if necessary, the level of potassium in the blood should be checked.” If a child has eaten a blue pill, if in doubt, parents can call the poison emergency hotline, for example from the Poisoning Information Center (VIZ) Freiburg, phone number 0761/19240.
A spokeswoman for Pforzheimer Hospital Helios says that poisoning is treated in two ways in the hospital, and clarifies: “On the one hand, the doctor who treats you will try to prevent the residual amounts from being absorbed from the digestive tract – for example by giving charcoal preparations. On the other hand, the signs of disease that They are already triggered by symptoms, including by taking fluids, pain relievers, or cardiovascular medications.” However, Schwara emphasizes once again that experts at the HELIOS Hospital Pforzheim consider the risk to children and adults to be very low if the blue pills are “applied correctly”.
Bitter materials do not encourage consumption
The Helios Hospital in Pforzheim has not yet treated children nor adults with symptoms of poisoning caused by blue pills, Schwara reports. Doctors are also not aware of any cases of severe poisoning with synthetic fertilizers. This requires a “high amount consumption”. The spokeswoman also stresses that commercially available formulations are mixed with a bitter substance that makes it highly unlikely that children will voluntarily eat large quantities of manure – even if its blue color appears tempting at first.
Chemical fertilizer can cause irritation if it comes into direct contact with the skin or eyes. If this is the case, Shuara advises cleaning the affected areas well with water.
Just touching the compost granules does not lead to poisoning. However, if it comes into contact with open wounds, it can cause severe burning. Uwe Stedtler of VIZ describes it as “putting salt in a wound,” but the effect is stronger than table salt. Chemical fertilizer can cause irritation if it comes into direct contact with the skin or eyes. After that, the affected area should be thoroughly cleaned with water, advises Schwara of the Helios Clinic in Pforzheim.
The effect of blue seeds on animals
The team at the garden fair in Ballingen not only fertilizes with bluegrass, but also uses organic fertilizers, reports Annette Stoll-Zeitler, head of exhibitions and operations departments. However, since organic fertilization is a more tedious process than mineral fertilizers such as blue grain, the synthetic alternative was chosen in this case. “Organic fertilizers also typically contain chicken droppings or other residue, which is why animals sometimes sniff and eat them. With saline fertilizers like blue beans, the risk is lower,” says Stoll-Zeitler, adding, “It’s not a poison, it’s salt. When Dogs lick a pill, instantly realizing it’s too salty.”
As reported by the German Animal Welfare Association, there have so far not been any cases of poisoning from synthetic fertilizers in four-legged friends. “Even if an animal has dung residue on its paws and involuntarily swallows it by licking it, this probably has no consequences – the risk of ingestion by licking the paws is negligible,” explains Hester Bommering, a spokeswoman for the German Animal Welfare Association. “It can also be taken from pond water mixed with blue pills or taken directly orally from a bag of blue pills.”
What to do if you suspect poisoning?
Again, it depends on the dosage, the pet’s body weight, and the composition of the fertilizer. Especially since some fertilizers also contain pesticides or insecticides. “So a small dog eating pure blue pills from a bag can of course poison themselves,” says Boomrining.
If an animal eats a few blue grain pellets, the mostly mild symptoms will usually be limited to the digestive system, as they are in humans: vomiting, diarrhea and drooling, lists a spokeswoman for the German Animal Welfare Association. Especially if you use a fertilizer such as blue beans, you should avoid drinking water that seeps through the flower pot.
Fertilizers should also generally be kept out of the reach of animals. “If a lot of blue beans are known to be used in the area, you can prevent it by forbidding drinking from ponds in the fertile field area,” says Boomrining. If you are unsure or suspect you have poisoning, pet owners should contact the treating veterinarian.
Planning for the Garden Show 2023
Because of intermittent rains and initial watering, Balingen’s fertilizer dissolves quickly and then seeps into the soil to be absorbed by plant roots, explains Stiehle of the Garden Show team. Most of the fertilization was done in closed construction site areas and in green areas along the Eak River in Balingen in order to improve the soil. “We would like to enable the development of optimal vegetation for next year’s Garden Show, which requires a fast-acting fertilizer that supports the plants at the beginning of the growth phase,” explains Artistic Director.
BUND’s Gottfried May-Stürmer asserts that Blaukorn is “easily soluble in water” and will “dissolve quickly and seep into the ground if it rains again.” The expert says you shouldn’t mark areas where blueberries or other fertilizers have spread. However, marking is still considered very useful for public places with visitor traffic.
According to Style, there is no blueprint for using bluegrass or other fertilizers in Balingen this year or in 2023. So it stays with the one-time business.