Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - There’s plenty of press coverage and consumer awareness about GE foods and crops, pesticides, and animal drugs. Largely ignored in the press is the global fertilizer industry, a major destructive force in polluting the environment, disrupting the climate, and damaging public health.
Here are some little known and often ignored facts about the fertilizer industry.
- Gross sales of the global chemical fertilizer industry is $175 billion, almost double the $93 billion generated by the GMO and pesticide giants: including Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Bayer and Syngenta.
- Like most of the other multinational players in Big Food, the fertilizer industry has secretive, vertical or “cartel” like qualities that obscure operations and make regulation difficult. The EPA allows self-regulation, with its attendant abuses, as the norm.
- Up to 85 percent of the world’s known phosphate rock reserves are located in Morocco. About 70 percent of potash comes from former Soviet states and Canada.
- In recent years, U.S. production of nitrogen fertilizer has boomed thanks to the falling price of natural gas used in its production. Driving this demand is the increased growing of GE crops for animal feeds and for ethanol production.
- Nitrogen fertilizer pollutes the environment and drinking water. Two-thirds of the U.S. drinking water supply is contaminated at high levels with carcinogenic nitrates or nitrites, almost all from excessive use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.
- Chemical fertilizers destroy the soils’ natural ability to sequester excess atmospheric CO2. There is growing recognition that synthetic fertilizers are a major contributor to climate-destroying greenhouse gases (GHG). The estimated cost of environmental damage from reactive nitrogen emissions is between $70 billion and $320 billion in the European Union alone.
Comment: The remedy for most of these problems: GO ORGANIC!
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