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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Fracking' Category


Nitrogen Fertilizer Found To Be a Significant Source of Air Pollution

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2018) California regulators may be drastically underestimating chemical-intensive agriculture’s contribution to nitrogen oxide (NOx) caused air pollution, acid rain, and respiratory illness in the state, according to a new study published in Science Advances by researchers at University of California, Davis. While NOx  pollution is usually associated with energy production and vehicle emissions, fertilizer use on crop fields is contributing to significant air pollution problems. Advocates say that the study is an urgent call for farmers to eliminate dependency on soluble, synthetic, nitrogen-based fertilizers and adopt the use of insoluble soil amendments that support soil biology that provide plants with nutrients. NOx gasses are major sources of pollution in the U.S. and throughout the world, and include the compounds nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Chemical-intensive, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are applied in a form that is readily available to plants, while organic nitrogen fertilizers require the biological life in the soil to break down the fertilizer into a form that plants can use. These nitrogen fertilizers that are not immediately taken up by plants can cause pollution problems. Natural nitrogen in the atmosphere must be transformed to be able to be used by organisms as […]



New York State Bans Fracking

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2014) Citing concerns over health risks, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and his administration announced Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” in New York state, thus becoming the first state with significant natural-gas resources to ban the practice. Fracking is a method of extracting natural gas from deep in the ground by injecting a mixture of water, sand, and toxic chemicals ””including biocides to control biological activity”” under high pressure into dense rock formations, such as shale, in order to crack the rock and release the gas. The announcement to ban fracking came alongside a long-awaited health study. The study, made public during a year-end cabinet meeting convened by the governor in Albany, found “significant public health risks” associated with fracking. The study also considers the effects of biocide use in the fracking process, such as reduced microbial diversity and enhanced tolerance from chemicals like glutaraldehyde, a strong irritant. Hydraulic fracking operations use biocides because microbes, which are present beneath the surface of the earth, can interfere with the flow of gas in the pipelines. Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., an ecologist and author, explained the possible role of these microbes and the use […]