Why is There Lead in My Fertilizer?
Using chemical fertilizers? Well, think again. Irregardless of whether you are farming a hundred acres, maintaining a small garden in the backyard or just consuming fruits and vegetables from your local grocery store, you should be forewarned. The findings of scientists and researchers analyzing the effects of chemical fertilizers should scare you.
You’re probably not aware of this, but a prime example of what I am talking about is the use of lead in chemical fertilizers. News headlines and prime time specials warn consumers of the ill effects of lead especially in paint, our water sources and even in the air we breathe. If not careful, doses of lead can cause unwanted effects in the body including anemia, a rise in blood pressure, damage to the kidneys, miscarriages, nervous system disorders, brain damage and even diminished learning ability in children.
Interestingly, though we have been warned and educated of the harmful and hazardous effects of lead, it is still found in chemical fertilizers used by farmers and gardeners. Why? Well, fertilizer companies buy recycled waste in order to make their fertilizer. However, because it cost too much to do, hazardous-waste recyclers do not remove all the lead before it is sold to these fertilizer companies. The result is lead in our chemical fertilizers.
Though it’s never disclosed on the label, it may contain up to 3% of lead. How scary is that? You just read a list of health problems lead causes. Yet, despite this public knowledge, lead is used in the same chemical fertilizers applied to the crops we either directly consume ourselves or that may be fed to what we will find in the meat section of our local grocery store.
And if that’s not enough, the use of chemical fertilizers will eventually cause lead to be not only in the soil but in the water sources surrounding the area as well. Contaminating local ponds, lakes, rivers and wells, lead accumulates in the blood and tissues of fish and other water organisms, causing a ripple effect of disaster. Not only will the fish be directly effected by the poisonous lead, but so too, will those who eat or drink out of the tainted water.
Of course, soil functions are disturbed by lead pollution, especially near highways and farmlands where extreme concentrations may be present. Most likely, soil organisms will suffer from lead poisoning too. The scary thing about lead is that if not limited and kept in check, it can literally affect the entire food chain.
Unfortunately, you can’t control what the commercial farmers apply to their crops or really, how anyone else fertilizes their fruits and vegetables. But the one thing you can do is refuse to use chemical fertilizers on your own garden and flowers. Instead, you can take responsibility for your own actions and either make your own or buy a natural fertilizer, which will be free from lead and other harmful, life-threatening chemicals.
Use natural fertilizers and other natural methods to enhance your soil and plants and the rewards will be well worth the “fruit” of your labor.