Safety Concerns of Hydroponics | Questions Answered | Blog
I have recently started growing veges hydroponically and generally everything is going well, except, I have concerns about the harmfulness of my lights (2x 1000w Metal Halides). I have been feeling rather sunburnt, with sore and red eyes I am wondering what kind of long term effects are suffered by metal halide bulbs?"
1. Sunburn – Metal Halides produce UV. Although they are designed for factory workers to work under, if you are close to the lamp like a growroom environment, it is more concentrated and it is possible to get some UV exposure. If you spend more than 3 hours
per day directly under the light in your growroom, I would believe that it might be a good idea to shield yourself from the lighting in some way with the reflector, or turn the light off that you are working under, and leave another light somewhere else, such as a household fluorescent or incandescent bulb. I wouldn’t consider it a risk compared to say 10% of the same exposure to sunlight.
2. Sore eyes – These lights produce a lot of glare, and I recommend eye protection as you would in sunlight. UV protection sunglasses would be good. Click here to see our options for those: HPS Protective Sunglasses
"I Also have concerns that vermiculite/perlite have asbestos/irritant particles in them. How true is this and how dangerous are they to us? what precautions can I take?"
Perlite contains no asbestos. Here is a link to a Typical Material Data Safety sheet for Perlite (https://www.ausperl.com/wp-content/uploads/MSDS-Expanded-Perlite-Safety-Data.pdf) – A summary would be that Perlite is a rock, and its a bit dusty, but no danger to you really, other than normal dust coughing, eyes irritated but no long term effect when you wash it out. You’ll notice even if swallowed or on the skin, no real effect.
I am glad you asked this question. It is a key area that people misconceive that Hydroponics being manufactured, has any level of toxicity. I would be concerned with Rockwool, but only large quantities of it – as it has been cleared of cancer risk as well, but it makes me itch, so that’s the one thing I am worried about.
If mixing nutrients yourself, some elements that are used are completely natural, yet never meant for you to come into contact with high levels of it, such as boric acid. Using gloves is fine, and you only ever use a very small amount. Natural things can hurt you, like arsenic, lions, sharks, earthquakes, etc.
The humorous thing is soil is now packaged with warnings. Customers tell me they love the smell of soil, yet the soil packaging warns you to avoid diseases by using a mask. They tell me they like to feel the dirt in their fingers, yet the packaging warns you to use gloves!
Really, we need to do what you have asked, assess the risks on a fairly toxic planet, and try to use only non-toxic products. 75,000 chemicals have been added to our lives since the 1930’s that don’t exist in nature and 7% have been tested for safety. That makes me feel safe.
Hope that will make you feel good about Hydroponics and as worried as I am about the world. You can’t stop it and get off can you.