*Warning* TIP MULCH - Please Read

Discussion in 'Other' started by Letsgokate, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    We are not ones for sharing private health information on a public forum but I feel this is very relevant to the people on this forum and I know others have used Tip Mulch, so feel it is my duty to warn others of the potential danger of using it. It’s a long story so bear with me.

    4 months or so ago, we got 15 large trailer loads of tip mulch to spread in some big open areas, not around any food growing areas. It was filthy stuff, lots of rubbish, wet, mouldy, very stinky, slimy, obviously some loads were better than others. We took precautions and wore face masks and gloves when emptying and spreading the mulch. At the tip Chris wore gloves but not a face mask when spreading the mulch evenly on the trailer for more loading and transporting. We also covered the load.

    My husband Chris was fit, healthy and active but has been very sick since Sept, shortness of breath and lots of coughing. He just kept getting worst and worst. He was diagnosed at first with bronchitis and the flu, then it was whooping cough. He has had 7 different lots of antibiotics, Ventolin, steroids etc but nothing helped. He had a few sick days here and there until the last 3 weeks he has been to sick to go to work.

    He has been unable to do anything much at all without puffing, coughing and saying he can’t breathe. He has had several dizzy spells and at one time passed out and hit the deck, giving me one hell of a fright. This fall also hurt his back and did some damage.

    After lots of scans, blood tests and trying everything his GP was at a loss and referred him to a lung specialist. Who ordered more blood tests, heart ultrasound and further CT lung scan. One of the lung scans showed a darkening in the lungs, consistent with an allergic reaction to something, this is called Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, sometimes found in people who deal with lots of birds or farmers dealing with wet hay,

    Chris had to have a Bronchoscopy and a Biopsy which he had on Tuesday. Unfortunately, his lung was punctured during the procedure and he had a collapsed lung. Of course, my hubby not wanting to do things by halves had a tear and a flap which is very rare and acted as a value with air only going one way so with every breath, he took air was going out. This resulted in the lung collapsing very quickly and caused a great deal of pain.

    He has had to spend 4 nights so far in hospital, on oxygen and a chest tube into the cavity near his lung to let the air out and has had suction on this tube to get all the air out of the cavity. He is also on very heavy pain killers. He will remain in hospital until the hole in his lung heals over.

    The biopsy result has come back and it is confirmed it is Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis which is an allergy reaction to something. The doctors cannot confirm or say what his allergy reaction is too. The only course of action from here is a high dose of Prednisolone for 3 mths which has its own side effects, so it will be a long slow road to recovery and full health. When he finally gets to come home, he can’t do a thing for 2 weeks.

    He now has life long effects as a result of the lung collapse where he can never scuba dive, duck dive when snorkelling (something we like to do,) or any ducking down under water as his lung will be too weak.

    Due to the timing and nothing else that was different at the time we are convinced this has been caused by the tip mulch. In our case we aren’t talking about 1 or 2 trailer loads, but in reality, one just has to breath in one of the mould spores at the wrong time and anyone could have the same thing happen regardless of how many trailer loads you get.

    This has not only affected Chris but myself as I’ve had to take the extra load and do everything around the property inside and out, commitments and other family life events still had to be met and of course the emotional strain of seeing someone you love suffering. The last few days have been very draining and stressful. I have had to drive in and out of the city and have been by his side every day until late, not nice seeing your hubby going through so much.

    When you buy a bag of potting mix from the store it has a warning on it about wearing face masks and not breathing in the fine partials. There is no warning when buying or getting free mulch or buying bulk soil, maybe there should be. I would hate to see someone else go through the same experience when I could prevent it by telling our story.

    People can make their own assessment and judgment whether this allergic reaction and resulting events was caused by the tip mulch and you can all make up your own mind whether you choose to use it or not. For us we will never use it ever again, there is no price you can put on your health of yourself or loved ones.
     
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  2. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks for sharing Kate, what a terrible experience.

    From your description of the mulch, it makes sense that he picked something up from it, it doesn't sound like the healthiest thing to be around.

    I'm assuming that you were using the white paper masks? I've never had success with those types, they just don't seal well enough to do the job for me. I have used one of those gas mask style respirators for work a few years back that worked really well.

    Wishing him a speedy recovery.
     
  3. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks Andrew,

    The masks were not the cheap paper masks, further up in quality and should have been good enough. I use then when mowing in dust etc as I suffer with allergies. But I think I'll up the quality a bit more anyway.

    The loads of mulch were done over several weeks, couple every weekend. As I said he didn't have the mask on at the tip so that could have also been when he breathed in the spores.

    He has had to spend another night in hospital but we are hoping tomorrow is the day. He must be feeling better as he is getting cheeky :D
     
  4. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Oh dear, Kate. How terrible for both of you. I sincerely wish your husband all the best and a speedy recovery. Also that you are strong enough to make it through the ordeal too.
    Yes I have heard of some sort of lung ailment from tip mulch.
    I won't use it again after getting sharps and hospital waste in a load many years ago.
     
  5. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks Clissat,

    That's terrible re the sharps and hospital waste, it shouldn't even go to the tip. There is certainly lots of rubbish in it. That's one thing but wet, mouldy etc is another. There were clearing out the big old pile of mulch to make changes at the tip, so some of it was very old and yucky. Unfortunately you don't get to choose which pile of mulch you want.

    I knew others here has used tip mulch so this is why I shared our story on here. Everything we have been through is not worst free mulch or free anything.

    With his compromised lungs and not been able to breath properly, his oxygen levels were already low and he had performed very low on breathing tests so Chris could have died with the collapsed lung, nothing is worth that. It's been a very difficult time all around. Of course life is always busy so that continues in amongst it all.

    Fingers crossed today he will come home.

    Outside I am keeping the place tidy and mowing, keeping fruit trees alive and doing very well in their new enclosure from possums, other issues to deal with now with them. All on automatic watering thank goodness. I know some people like to hand water and that can be relaxful but auto watering certainly has its place and I would have lost trees during this time if it wasn't on.

    Veggies They have just been left, losts flowering for the bees :) They will all be loving the rain.
     
  6. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    If I knew you were within driving distance of me, I would love to offer some garden help to give you a breather.
     
  7. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks for much Clissat what a thoughtful offer, so lovely of you :) Things are sort of under control, it is what it is. Not bothered by not having the veggies, I wind it down over summer anyway due to the heat, just happened a bit earlier this year.

    Chris came home today :cheer: should make things a bit easier and he will be lots more comfortable. They have given him until mid Jan off work so plenty of time to recovery and take it easy. Least I don't have to worry about watering anything with the rain :)
     
  8. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Interesting to know, and what a bummer to have permanent effects from it.

    After all the hard work you both put in and have everything set up , and then stuff like this happens and sets you back!

    Gives you the sh*ts but all you can do is move on and try to be remain positive i guess.
     
  9. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks Stevo, setbacks as far as gardening can be caught back up and get back on track. Main concern is Chris's health and warning others so they don't go through this.

    With tip mulch there is varying degrees of composting happening. It's not just a pile of chipped garden clippings, they pile it up and let it sit for months and months at times so it can be very composted. When we spread ours at times it was like dirt. Maybe it's the composted state that is more dangerous with the mulch.
     
  10. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Just thinking of Chris and hoping he is improving, Kate.
     
  11. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks Clissat, he is doing well, still has some pain but taking it easy. The recovery from the original condition will take months. He is on some pretty heavy steroids for 3 months to help with the inflammation, so it's just a matter of time and rest.

    I've caught up on everything I wanted to do for now. Time to have a rest and relax over Christmas.

    Hope you have an awesome Christmas and everything is growing well up your way, take a break of Christmas.
     
  12. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Oh wow @Letsgokate so sorry to hear about Chris's lung problems contracted from managing tip mulch - that's horrible!

    Thank you for the warning because I often use tip mulch and bags of potting mix but also do a lot of garden work spreading sugarcane mulch, composts, manures, etc.

    Just recently, I've started using disposable face masks when mowing the lawn or cleaning out the chicken coop after feeling the negative effects (coughing, sinus irritability) either immediately or often the next day.

    I hope your husband's recovery goes well from now on without any further setbacks and I wish him all the best.

    Sharing your story will no doubt help others and I know you've made me re-think the way I work in the garden to be more careful and take appropriate precautions, so thank you again.
     
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