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Q & A: fertilizer

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
when we take in the chemicals from miracle-gro are they good for us or can we become sick.
- rebecca ross (age 12)
Welesley
A:
I assume that you don't mean eating the fertilizer itself, but rather putting it in the ground and then eating plants that grow from that soil. Eating the fertilizer would be a very bad idea indeed. I've heard that in some areas where a lot of fertilizer is used nitrate contamination of the water supply can be a health problem. I've never heard of any health problem from eating plants grown with moderate use of ordinary fertilizers. The chemicals in the fertilizers (mostly nitrates and phosphates) are the same ones present in fertile soils anyway. Really you should check these hearsay answers with some serious soil scientist.

Mike W.

One common fertilizer component is ammonia, which is used in farms around here, where they grow lots of corn and soybeans. Ammonia is a natural byproduct of decaying plant and animal material, and is a natural fertilizer, but I wouldn't eat anything with ammonia in it if I could help it. Miracle-Gro may contain more gentle compounds, but I still wouldn't put it in my mouth. I happily eat the veggies grown with it, though!

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

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