Toxic chemicals and food, toxic chemicals and water, does either seem like a good match? That’s what we get when we use common fertilizers and pesticides. Protecting our water sources and our soil is crucial for our health and the health of all living creatures–animals, plants and beneficial insects. If you want to be a protector, avoid using pesticides and fertilizer on your lawn. Additionally consider supporting organic agriculture rather than supporting conventional and genetically modified food that uses vast amounts of both.
The following excerpt from the upcoming Wecology Handbook,
The risks and dangers created by synthetic toxic fertilizer include:
- Most commercial fertilizers contain hazardous waste and toxic heavy metals
- Some even contain radioactive and nuclear waste (see below)
- Many fertilizers are combined with poisonous herbicides like Atrazine
- Fertilizer contaminates ground water and drinking water sources
- Fertilizer creates nitrates in drinking water that cause loss of oxygen to tissues
- Fertilizer runoff kills aquatic organisms and causes dead zones
- The nitrogen content in fertilizer contributes to climate change
It’s a troubling tale, uncovered by the late and great Adrienne Anderson who was an esteemed environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Here is a clip from her interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.
…“But it’s actually worse than that because Rocky Flats was also hauling waste off-site up to thirty miles away from the Rocky Flats plant, here near Boulder. It was actually hauling it out to eastern Colorado in a dumpsite called the Lowry Landfill, taking tons of waste. There’s two tons of plutonium missing from the Rocky Flats nuclear power plant — missing and unaccounted for, the government admits. And, in an investigation I have been involved in since 1996 on behalf of sewage plant workers, we have unraveled a troubling tale of the fact that Rocky Flats was taking waste to this dump, Lowry Landfill, which is now a Superfund site. And, secretly, the polluters at the site, with the government, entered into a deal where they would flush it into public sewer lines. And then, from there, it would be trucked out and used as farm fertilizer on agricultural fields on out in eastern Colorado that are growing food crops for America. And, furthermore, just in recent months they have also concocted a plan where they are taking the water from the sewage facility that is commingled with the Lowry Landfill waste, that does include radioactive waste, and it is being re-routed now into parks into Denver, playgrounds in Denver, and, starting this month, it is even going to be used as irrigation water at the Denver Zoo. And this is the only place in the United States of America where there has been a permit issued to allow plutonium and other nuclear waste to be released from a Superfund site for end-use as farm fertilizer and recycled water to irrigate public parks and recreation areas — unprecedented anywhere else in the country.”[i]
Climate Change Effect
Nitrogen-based fertilizers spur greenhouse gas emissions by stimulating microbes in the soil to produce more nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is the third most important greenhouse gas, behind only carbon dioxide and methane, and also destroys stratospheric ozone. Agriculture accounts for around 80 percent of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions worldwide, which have increased substantially in recent years, primarily due to increased nitrogen fertilizer use.[ii]
- Reduce use of toxic fertilizers, use compost or go natural, go organic.
- If your water at homes comes from your own private well, be sure to have it tested regularly for pesticide contamination as well as nitrates and heavy metals from fertilizer.
- Natural methods of pest control here
- See this facebook page for great info on natural and serene gardening
- Protect people and animals, be a wild gardener
- Avoid carcinogenic pesticides and fertilizer, see related post
“Pesticide contamination of groundwater is a subject of national importance because groundwater is used for drinking water by about 50 percent of the Nation’s population. This especially concerns people living in the agricultural areas where pesticides are most often used, as about 95 percent of that population relies upon groundwater for drinking water. Before the mid-1970s, it was thought that soil acted as a protective filter that stopped pesticides from reaching groundwater. Studies have now shown that this is not the case. Pesticides can reach water-bearing aquifers below ground from applications onto crop fields, seepage of contaminated surface water, accidental spills and leaks, improper disposal, and even through injection waste material into wells.” Excerpt from the USGS