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Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Fertilizer Fail

You know that eating organic is the best way to avoid food produced with pesticides, GMOs, drugs and hormones (detected in factory farm meat). 

But there’s another evil lurking in our non-organic food system, one that’s even harder to detect and avoid: synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.

Fertilizer run-off pollutes drinking water. It’s the cause of the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone, Lake Erie’s algal blooms and the red tides on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Synthetic fertilizers are also linked to a host of health problems. Each year in the U.S., it causes tens of thousands of illnesses, including:

• 2,939 cases of very low birth weight; 1,725 cases of very preterm birth; and 41 cases of neural tube defects.

• 12,594 cases of cancer, including colorectal, ovarian, thyroid, kidney and bladder cancer.

• 4,300 premature deaths due to nitrogen oxide-heavy smog from synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use on corn alone.

The synthetic fertilizer industry would have you believe that farmers can’t grow food without synthetic nitrogen.

But as any successful organic or regenerative farmer will tell you, that’s just not true. 

The National Academy of Engineering calls synthetic nitrogen fertilizer pollution one of the “grand challenges” facing the world. 

Scientists warn that we must drastically reduce its use.

Let’s start in our own backyards—by asking our state lawmakers to act.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your state lawmakers: We need a plan to ban synthetic nitrogen fertilizers!

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