COA Series: Pesticides

When shopping for food we’ll often note whether or not something is organically grown knowing that, among other things, this protects us from most pesticides. How many of us do the same when we are selecting items such as lotions, cosmetics, or supplements? When those supplements are for our pets, knowing whether or not they contain pesticides is critical. In this latest entry in our series about the testing that we do and what information you can find on a Certificate of Analysis, we’re discussing pesticides.

As a refresher, we test for the following:

 

Pesticide Testing

At all stages of our process (primary ingredients, pro-ingredients, and final products) we test for residual pesticides via a set panel performed by a certified state laboratory. Pesticides are obvious toxins, classified by their actions and levels of toxicity at various dosages. They can be introduced into hemp products via farming practices and extractor processes; a contaminated water supply is also a concern as it can allow highly toxic chemicals to travel long distances

This map shows estimated concentrations of atrazine in shallow groundwater beneath agricultural land. Atrazine use is one of the most important factors used to predict atrazine and deethylatrazine concentrations in groundwater (right). Within areas of high atrazine use, groundwater residence time, soil permeability, and other factors explain some of the differences in predicted concentrations. From USGS Circular 1360.

 

Often people think that if something is naturally derived, it is safer. This is not always the case. Pyrethrins, common pesticides derived from the chrysanthemum, can be extremely dangerous, even deadly to cats. Similarly, organic is not necessarily pesticide-free, though the opposite can be true. And to make it more complicated, no single laboratory can test for all possible pesticides, and one has to rely on regulatory agencies to ensure nothing toxic at low doses leaches through into the environment or test sample. Allowable levels in our and our pets’ water supply may not be safe when orally absorbed in a solid or oil-based liquid. 

If you combine this with the fact that when compounds like CBD are extracted from hemp, any pesticides used on the plant or within the water supply are then concentrated, it becomes very clear why this testing must be performed. A chemical that is safe for adult humans in tiny amounts, then concentrated and given to a child or pet who are much smaller could be extremely hazardous. Many pesticides can exacerbate existing health problems or even cause new ones. They can be carcinogenic, teratogenic, hepatotoxic, neurotoxic, nephrotoxic, and potentially disrupt hormones, the endocrine system, and the immune system. 

Most of the commonly used pesticides in the cannabis industry fall under Category 3, 4, or 5 WHO classification scheme. This means they “may be harmful,” are “harmful,” or are “toxic if swallowed,” based on dosages which caused harm in 50% of rat test subjects (LD50). Many of the chemicals do not have LD50’s for cats, dogs, or even humans. Others have veterinary-based applications and are commonly applied topically (ex. imidacloprid and pyrethrins/pyrethrins) or given orally (ex. spinosad) for flea control.

Because of the potential risk to cats and dogs of all sizes, we test multiple times to ensure that any residual pesticides are below the level we have determined to be safe, typically “none detected” (ND) or in trace amounts. Trace amounts to us means an estimated amount which is greater than the Lower Limit of Detection (LLOD)  but less than the LLOQ. The LLOD is the lowest amount that the method can detect and the LLOQ the lowest amount that the method can quantify. Our reasoning? Such levels are usually secondary to environmental contamination and is one reason we check local water testing results, cross-referencing them with Washington state cannabis testing parameters and our internal specifications.  

We believe in full transparency at Canna Companion and want you satisfied your pet is receiving the very best. You deserve to know what is, and is not, in our products before you give them to your pet. Contact us today for a copy of our batch-tracked Certificates of Analysis!