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I have been told about the uses of water absorbing polymer crystals and doing research I found upon deterioration they turn into water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen.  My husband and I are looking for alternative grow mediums to use for growing root vegetables in our aquaponic system.  Has anyone ever used this type of material?  Does anyone have any information about their effects on fish.  So far, I have only been informed they are perfect for cricket beds and other reptile bed uses.  But, again, nothing regarding their affects on fish.

 

Thank you so much for your assistance with this.

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Info is easy to find but nothing about decomposing: http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/geology-terms/question5...

Why not the standard coir and or soil?  i like growing roots in our wicking beds

I was unaware of this material... very interesting indeed and peaked my interest. The MSDS for Soil Moist says there is no toxicity in the Aquatic environment. But, apparently there are trace levels of Acrylamide left after polymerization which has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.

The product is safe enough to use in diapers but is it safe enough to grow plants in?

I found a study that says No.

http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Polymers/Polyacrylamides-Degradati...

CONCLUSION

It has been demonstrated that under artificial environmental conditions, polyacrylamide may degrade to acrylamide. In an agricultural setting, the degradation of polyacrylamide to acrylamide creates a potential environmental/health hazard (i.e., contamination of surface water and/or ground water systems). Under environmental (outdoor) conditions acrylamide levels in solutions of PATA increased when formulated in distilled– deionized water, surface water, or ground water samples without and with GH, suggesting that polyacrylamide degraded to acrylamide. Ammonium concentrations were increased in distilled –deionized water but varied or decreased in the surface water or ground water samples. pH was not affected. All solutions had a homogeneous milky appearance at the beginning of the study period, independent of formulation (water or chemical) and by the conclusion of the study, all solutions were nearly transparent. The volatility of acrylamide was very low, independent of formulation, except when solutions were near dryness. Trends for the ammonium ion concentrations and pH resembled those observed in artificial and outdoor studies. Acrylamide leached the fastest from columns containing sand only, followed by columns containing Eudora sandy loam, then Kahola silt loam. A single acrylamide peak after 2 days of washing was observed from the sand columns. Acrylamide concentrations were detected in the other two soil types after 2 days of washing, wherein it was leached off at a constant rate over the next 5 days. Acrylamide could not be detected in the runoff water from any of the soil boxes after 4 days of outdoor environmental exposure.

Thank you, David for taking your time to help me find more information about the material.  I really appreciate your assistance.
 
David - WI said:

Info is easy to find but nothing about decomposing: http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/geology-terms/question5...

Hi Rob.  My husband and I also use the wicking beds with coir.  They work great.  We are just trying to find other methods as well in expanding our operation.  This material caught my eye with it's water retention capabilities.  I thought it might reduce the amount of water evaporation in our system.  Thank you for taking your time to respond to my request.  I truly appreciate your insight.
 
Rob Nash said:

Why not the standard coir and or soil?  i like growing roots in our wicking beds

Wow, Jonathan!  This has been absolutely helpful to me.  Thank you so much for researching this and finding this out.  I must have spent 5 hours online and could not find out anything regarding the information you found.  The only thing I was able to find was regarding the benefits of using this material.  But, something in me told me to keep digging because it just sounded to good to be true.  I truly appreciate you taking the time to help me in this search.  Thank you, again.  Now, I can make the educated decision I need to make for our system regarding grow mediums.
 
Jonathan Kadish NYC AA Chair said:

I was unaware of this material... very interesting indeed and peaked my interest. The MSDS for Soil Moist says there is no toxicity in the Aquatic environment. But, apparently there are trace levels of Acrylamide left after polymerization which has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.

The product is safe enough to use in diapers but is it safe enough to grow plants in?

I found a study that says No.

http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Polymers/Polyacrylamides-Degradati...

CONCLUSION

It has been demonstrated that under artificial environmental conditions, polyacrylamide may degrade to acrylamide. In an agricultural setting, the degradation of polyacrylamide to acrylamide creates a potential environmental/health hazard (i.e., contamination of surface water and/or ground water systems). Under environmental (outdoor) conditions acrylamide levels in solutions of PATA increased when formulated in distilled– deionized water, surface water, or ground water samples without and with GH, suggesting that polyacrylamide degraded to acrylamide. Ammonium concentrations were increased in distilled –deionized water but varied or decreased in the surface water or ground water samples. pH was not affected. All solutions had a homogeneous milky appearance at the beginning of the study period, independent of formulation (water or chemical) and by the conclusion of the study, all solutions were nearly transparent. The volatility of acrylamide was very low, independent of formulation, except when solutions were near dryness. Trends for the ammonium ion concentrations and pH resembled those observed in artificial and outdoor studies. Acrylamide leached the fastest from columns containing sand only, followed by columns containing Eudora sandy loam, then Kahola silt loam. A single acrylamide peak after 2 days of washing was observed from the sand columns. Acrylamide concentrations were detected in the other two soil types after 2 days of washing, wherein it was leached off at a constant rate over the next 5 days. Acrylamide could not be detected in the runoff water from any of the soil boxes after 4 days of outdoor environmental exposure.

I thought it was weird that "soil conditioning" is listed as one of the uses if it's bad for the environment; BUT when I looked up Acrylamide I found that "it decomposes non-thermally to form ammonia" which is how we power our aquaponic systems anyway.

So, I'm not really sure if this stuff would be so bad; depending on how fast is decomposes (how much ammonia it releases compared to how much the fish produce)?

Your welcome Tim.

I also found it interesting that this stuff is used as a sub-dermal injection to fill wrinkles in Europe. I thought the Europeans are usually more cautious than the FDA who has not approved it. They are following 5000 people so we will see what happens to them... long live the guinea pigs!

Tim & Rashelle Goodner said:

Wow, Jonathan!  This has been absolutely helpful to me.  Thank you so much for researching this and finding this out.  I must have spent 5 hours online and could not find out anything regarding the information you found.  The only thing I was able to find was regarding the benefits of using this material.  But, something in me told me to keep digging because it just sounded to good to be true.  I truly appreciate you taking the time to help me in this search.  Thank you, again.  Now, I can make the educated decision I need to make for our system regarding grow mediums.
 
Jonathan Kadish NYC AA Chair said:

I was unaware of this material... very interesting indeed and peaked my interest. The MSDS for Soil Moist says there is no toxicity in the Aquatic environment. But, apparently there are trace levels of Acrylamide left after polymerization which has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.

The product is safe enough to use in diapers but is it safe enough to grow plants in?

I found a study that says No.

http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Polymers/Polyacrylamides-Degradati...

CONCLUSION

It has been demonstrated that under artificial environmental conditions, polyacrylamide may degrade to acrylamide. In an agricultural setting, the degradation of polyacrylamide to acrylamide creates a potential environmental/health hazard (i.e., contamination of surface water and/or ground water systems). Under environmental (outdoor) conditions acrylamide levels in solutions of PATA increased when formulated in distilled– deionized water, surface water, or ground water samples without and with GH, suggesting that polyacrylamide degraded to acrylamide. Ammonium concentrations were increased in distilled –deionized water but varied or decreased in the surface water or ground water samples. pH was not affected. All solutions had a homogeneous milky appearance at the beginning of the study period, independent of formulation (water or chemical) and by the conclusion of the study, all solutions were nearly transparent. The volatility of acrylamide was very low, independent of formulation, except when solutions were near dryness. Trends for the ammonium ion concentrations and pH resembled those observed in artificial and outdoor studies. Acrylamide leached the fastest from columns containing sand only, followed by columns containing Eudora sandy loam, then Kahola silt loam. A single acrylamide peak after 2 days of washing was observed from the sand columns. Acrylamide concentrations were detected in the other two soil types after 2 days of washing, wherein it was leached off at a constant rate over the next 5 days. Acrylamide could not be detected in the runoff water from any of the soil boxes after 4 days of outdoor environmental exposure.

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