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Is "PEE TEA" Toxic?

 
Dean Howard
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Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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I've heard making a solution of 2 days worth of human pee + additional water to fill a 1 Gallon jug is great for plants and gardens... but, are we fooling ourselves on how much toxicity is in the "TEA"?
Is there an intelligent answer to this question?
 
Casie Becker
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I would say that it is possible that if someone is taking certain kinds of medications they may be in the urine. Most animal manures contain both feces and urine. They are subject to the same qualification that there are medications can make them less useful in the garden (dewormers are the first that come to mind) I think most would hesitate to knowing use materials from a diseased animal also.

Outside of those circumstances, the soil biology should be just as well adapted to process human urine that of any other animal. Is there a particular toxin you expect to find in human urine that we wouldn't find in animal manures?

Every time, even with previewing, I see an error the moment I post
 
John Polk
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I would be reluctant to use urine if the people are using antibiotics.
Even waste treatment facilities are recognizing that such urine enters the waste stream in a still contaminated form. This is partially responsible for the many antibiotic resistant strains that are now emerging...nothing will kill them...in fact, many are using existing antibiotics almost like candy.
 
Olga Booker
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It's not just antibiotics, it's also contraceptive pills, HRT medecine, statin drugs (for lowering cholesterol), pain killers, recreational drugs, you name it. I personally do not use pee unless I am absolutely sure there are no chemicals of any sort in it. I have even told people to not pee in my pee bucket if they are taking anything at all, but maybe I am just a bit OTT!!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Except for radioactives and heavy metals, it is possible that very biologically active soil, especially soil with plenty of fungal activity, can render toxic chemicals into non-toxic substances.

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-07-07/mycoremediation-bioremediation-with-fungi-growing-mushrooms-to-clean-the-earth-a-mini-review

 
Su Ba
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Tyler, I tend to lean toward that idea too. As long as the soil doesn't get overloaded with contaminants, I think good microbial activity can deal with minor problems. That's why I'm willing to use small amounts of cardboard and commercial food waste in my gardens. Thus far the test that I had done 3 years ago showed no dangerous contaminants that I was looking for. I'm not naive enough to think that my gardens are pure and totally free of all contaminants, but realistically, not much else in my life is anymore. Human activity has changed the world considerably. So I just focus on keeping out the nasties.

Most people's pee wouldn't bother me. Yes, there are a few medications that I would want to keep out of the garden. To list a few.....chemo drugs, antibiotics, dewormers. I'm at an age where none of my friends are on birth control and none of us do hormone replacement. I do not know how serious other types of medications would be in a garden situation. But as I've said, insignificant amounts are most likely dealt with by the active compost I till in multiple times a year.

Other than my own pee and that from my dogs and equines (yes, we all successfully learned to pee into a bucket on command, although I alone required a seat to sit upon), other pee goes into the orchard area. So that urine, if it contains contaminants, is less likely to pose a problem.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Su Ba wrote: other pee goes into the orchard area. So that urine, if it contains contaminants, is less likely to pose a problem.


I think that's wise, because the orchard (probably?) has more fungal activity versus a vegetable garden which will tend to have more bacterial activity.
 
Su Ba
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Yes, that was my line of thinking. Far more sustained fungal activity in my orchards.
 
Dean Howard
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Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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Casie Becker wrote: Is there a particular toxin you expect to find in human urine that we wouldn't find in animal manures? (


First of all, thank you all for your responses.
I'm not very organically optimal at this point. A lot of waste would have the usual suspects from the standard American diet, but I do eat less garbage food, but I'm not yet growing my own. Some of you have told me about the fungi and bacterial side of things. I guess I'm wondering how much chemical uptake is likely to occur in the "garden variety" garden veggies? Do garden plants do a good job of just taking up what they need, and when they need it, or do they absorb every chemical, virus, bacteria, and heavy metal, that a person pees out, like a sponge
 
Troy Rhodes
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Unless you take a bunch of powerful toxic pharmaceuticals, your urine makes excellent fertilizer. I routinely dilute at least 5:1, up to 10:1. It also makes a fantastic compost stimulator if you are short of nitrogen and long on browns/carbon.

 
Tyler Ludens
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As far as I've been able to find, only some prions may be transmitted by plants to humans - ordinary viruses and bacteria do not enter the plant and then transmit to humans. Pathogens such as e. coli are transmitted on plants by contact from the soil or polluted water. Normal human pee does not transmit pathogens to plants, but it can contain toxins which could get into plants in tiny amounts. Again, these toxins can be mitigated by biologically active soil. When in doubt, put pee in an active compost heap, and not directly on the soil.

 
Dean Howard
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Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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Good to know stuff, folks, thanks.

My pee (said Mr. Anonymoose) smells toxic... Do any of you have issues with the "tea" being poured on compost again, and again? Is there a point it becomes too foul?
 
Rebecca Norman
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Pouring urine on compost is an excellent way to return the nutrients to your ecosystem, especially if you feel there is anything possibly wrong with your pee being used direct, for example, if there might be strong medications, or if it smells foul to you. Just add a bit more carbon materials for your compost than you might otherwise (eg autumn leaves, sawdust, paper, even woodchips). But still include a variety of different materials in your compost heap. Pour the urine over it, and optionally cover with a layer of any other composting material, and I think you'll find that any foul smell disappears within minutes.

If you keep your pee stored as a liquid, it will start smelling foul. Joe Jenkins, in his wonderful book The Humanure Handbook, says stored urine will develop a smell that "would gag a maggot." So don't store your urine, put it right into a compost pile where the rich ecosystem of micro-organisms will quickly handle it and change the nutrients to other forms. Make sure your compost can drain out of the bottom, and not be collecting liquid in the bottom, which can start smelling foul -- I have made that mistake before.
 
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