[ID] => 10513
[post_author] => 43
[post_date] => 2019-01-21 09:32:25
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-21 09:32:25
[post_content] => One day last November I found myself in another country digging in the dirt. I spent parts of two weekends at my friends’ house, so it seemed only fair to help out with planting their new hedge. The soil turned out to be rather poor and we were going to need some fertilizer. Where I live it’s common to buy bags of cow manure, but I was in another country, and in the middle of sheep-raising territory to boot. So, I asked my friends if we could go get some cow manure, or, I continued, “maybe you use sheep shit here”.
I dunno, I’m not sure there are such things as “bad words”. But there are some times when using certain words is considered impolite, and I had just used uttered one of those words. I attempted to apologize, but one of my friends reassured me, “oh, we say shit here, too”. And we were off. We had a long, rather jolly, conversation about all sorts of animal excrement.
We talked about coyote urine, and how it’s used as a repellant to prey animals that like to munch on gardens. And not just coyote urine, but wolf urine or bobcat urine or other predator urines, too. Urine isn’t just a repellant either, some urines are used as attractants, especially for trapping.
I related a story involving a seaside town with a boardwalk, at which a seagull stole a french-fried potato from a strolling tourist, leaving some seagull poop on his head in exchange. That opened the discussion to a whole array of bird poop stories, none of which need to be repeated here.
No thorough discussion of poop would be complete without mentioning odor. I used to ride with a bicycle club in rural areas of North Carolina, and we could tell which kind of farm was around the bend ahead, just by the smell. We even rated various different odors. Chicken shit is absolutely the most foul smelling, followed by pig poop. Cow manure is toward the other end of the scale, but least offensive of all are horse droppings. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I did not get out on a bicycle in southern England and therefore cannot tell you where sheep shit would rate on the continuum.
Eventually though, we got back around to the uses of poop, and fertilizer in particular. Different animals eat different things, and different animals have different metabolic processes and different gut microflora, so the composition of animal shit can be quite varied. Different plants have different nutritional needs, too, and so sometimes animal poops are matched to the kinds of plants they would be the best fertilizers for. Some zoos are aware of this, and take advantage of this by selling exotic animal poops. Now, I have no clue which plants elephant shit is a good fertilizer for, nor do I know which plants would best benefit from giraffe shit or bear shit, but there are people who do know. And I applaud the zoos for finding a way to charge people money for hauling the zoo’s waste away.
Shit differences aren’t just significant from animal family to animal family, but from species to species, and probably from region to region within an animal family, too. Recently, bat caves came to my attention in two different ways. First, I came across some information that bat guano (by the way, how many terms have we used for the same thing; shit, manure, droppings, poop, excrement, and now, guano) is used as fertilizer too, but the source bat cave determines which plants it is best for. When ordering bat shit on-line, you will also need to know which cave you want your guano to be sourced from. Second, I read about some tourists dying from a viral lung infection they acquired from walking through the dried and powdery bat guano on a cave floor.
I need a short narrative detour now, to explain to you that, once upon a time in Antwerp, a whole new classification scheme for 6.2 was being introduced, and I was there to learn about Category A and Category B for the first time. When it came time for questions to the doctor that helped the WHO, the CDC and Health Canada create the indicative Category A list, I overcame my natural shyness and leapt out of my seat with my hand waving. At that time, transport of HIV-positive (HIV+) blood was a huge concern for our industry, and HIV+ blood wasn’t on the new Category A list. I also wanted to know why the microorganism that’s probably killed more humans than any other in history, Vibrio cholerae, wasn’t on the list either.
It was explained to me that there are two reasons a microorganism can be on the Category A list. Either contact with intact skin, or, inhalation of bioaerosols, must be likely to cause a potentially life-threatening infection. Neither HIV+ blood nor Vibrio cholerae cause infection when on intact skin. Much lab work and testing was done on HIV+ blood, but basically blood is too thick and heavy to allow micro-droplets which could be inhaled, so HIV+ blood can’t be Category A. Vibrio cholerae is very water dependent, and drops big enough to hold an infectious dose are too big to stay airborne, while smaller airborne droplets don’t have enough water to support an infectious dose. So, no, V. cholerae isn’t on the Category A list either.
In other words, if in the event of a transportation related release, if either a splash on the skin can infect you, or, merely breathing near a spill can infect you, that material is to be considered a 6.2, infectious material, in Category A.
Back to the bat caves, and to the guano collected from them. If people have died from inhalation infections from merely walking on the bat shit, how should that guano be classified for transport in bags or drums? Yeah, that’s right, as 6.2 Category A. Who knew?
How many fertilizer sellers and distributors have Dangerous Goods classification training? I don’t know, but I think it’s a relevant question, because sometimes that shit’s hazardous!
This is the latest in a series of musings from the porch swing of Gene Sanders, principal of Tampa-based WE Train Consulting and chair of the Dangerous Goods Trainers Association; telephone: (+1 813) 855 3855; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
[post_title] => View from the Porch Swing: That shit's hazardous!
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => view-porch-swing-shits-hazardous
[post_modified] => 2019-01-21 10:48:11
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-21 10:48:11
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=10513
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View from the Porch Swing: That shit’s hazardous!