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My hands are green! what makes green bamboo stakes green?

Hello! Does anyone know what makes green bamboo stakes green? I was excited to make an inexpensive bean trellis and grabbed a pack of 10 foot bamboo stakes. The nursery only carried the green color. When I started constructing the trellis, I noticed my hands were green. I tried researching what makes these green and what exactly was coming off onto my hands. Is it paint? Is it safe to grow veggies on? I aim to grow my garden completely organic, so I'm not sure if I should scrap these and go back for the natural ones. The stakes are made by Rainbow Garden Products, Inc. Any thoughts?

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Green Thumb
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Check the package for contact info. Though a phone call to China might be pretty expensive! I'd guess it's a dye of some sort though.

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Cool Member
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Location: Mt. Airy MD, USA

Does the package have any contact info for the company on it? Your best bet would be to find a way to contact them directly.

It is a dye they use and (as you discovered) it washes and rubs off over time.

It probably is not specifically organic but keep in mind that "organic gardening" is not an all-or-nothing proposition and just because a dye is inorganic does not mean that it is harmful to you or your plants.

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Thanks! The package info didn't really get me anywhere. There was just an address, and when I called the phone number I found online, I was transferred to voice mail. Your point about organic gardening not being all-or-nothing is interesting and something to keep in mind. However, I'm wishing that the info about what dye it is and whether or not it is harmful would be more readily available to the consumer. I kept the green trellis, though, and I'm looking forward to lots of green beans! =)

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Mariak, I find the longer I stay at this, the less consumer marketing meets my simple un-dyed needs. I'm not as all sure anything we say to this commercial beast is going to be heeded. But by all means leave a voice-mail, or send off a letter.

I expect you may also want to develope your own foraging skills. Stakes and poles may be something you have to find, vs buy. Too often people belive add-men and try to buy what has be be found. In most of my gardening adventure, if I think I have to buy it, I'm probably going at it wrong.

I will buy a few things for my garden, oh sulpher is one that comes to mind. it is a simple soil mineral. That I'll take up as an example. If the clerck at the store doesn't have any, and doesn't know what its used for, what does it tell you about every other product on his-her gardening shelves?

I'll include bamboo poles to that list.

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Location: Ecuador, USDA Zone 13, at 10,000' of altitude

It's dye, and since it's coming off I'd go with it's likely one of the soy-based (cheap!) chemical blend dyes. Lovely. However, any dye used in garden products in North America (regardless of their country of origin) has to be certified AP Non-Toxic, so I wouldn't worry too greatly about it.

This said, if you're needing bamboo poles and want the natural thing, you could do worse than to grow a pot of small bamboo yourself. Then you can just harvest the canes as you need them....

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I purchased green bamboo sticks for my organic garden sold by the Saferbrand Division of Woodstream and manufactured in China. My hands were smudged with green after placing them in my garden.

I am a recently retired union representative with extensive professional experience in the area of hazardous materials in regards to industrial health and safety.

I contacted the Customer Service Department of Woodstream/Saferbrand and exercised my legal right to request an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for the green dye. When it was not forthcoming, I called back and the rep read an e-mail from his supervisor citing OSHA and other statutes to the effect that MSDS do not exist for the type of product in question.

I informed the rep of my professional background and that his employer's legal position was false; threatening legal action if the MSDS was not received in a timely manner. It arrived several days later.

The dye is manufactured from Malachite Green Oxalate.


"Recommended Use: 'For use in hospital and pathology laboratories only as a microbiological staining solution.'"

The MSDS advises protective clothing for workers handling the substance and thorough washing with soap and water if splashed on skin.

Following is a link where I found detailed analysis regarding toxicity and regulation:

While I have not researched other brands, I have got to assume that there is a strong possibility of the green dye being similar in regards other stained bamboo sticks made in China (which has a history of using this substance in a variety of applications.)

This is not what any of us had in mind when we established an organic garden to enhance our healthy lifestyles.

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Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Bamboo stakes are dyed. There are naturally green, black and yellow bamboo, but the color fades as they get older and they dry and crack unless the bamboo is sealed. Natural bamboo eventually dries out, post beetles get in and they turn to dust or become very brittle. The dye on the bamboo stakes should not be a problem and they probably help the bamboo not only look good but last a little longer too.

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Hi -

I just had the same experience, using these posts 10 years later and am really disturbed by what I just read. whenever I touched them my hands itched and slightly burned, so I knew something was really toxic about them, and am a bit devastated about my garden.

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