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Gulf of Mexico Now Largest Dead Zone in the World, and Factory Farming Is to Blame

Story at-a-glance -

  • Nitrogen fertilizers and sewage sludge runoff from factory farms are responsible for creating a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico spanning more than 8,700 square miles — the largest recorded dead zone in the world
  • Seven million Americans have levels of nitrates in their drinking water that are high enough to be associated with cancer, according to some studies
  • Nitrogen builds up far below the soil surface where it can continue to leach into groundwater for 35 years. This means environmental concerns remain for decades even if nitrogen fertilizer use stops
  • The environmental group, Mighty, has launched a national #CleanItUpTyson campaign, calling for the meat company to clean up pollution from its supply chain
  • No-till alone cannot reduce water pollution. Other regenerative methods must also be used. Adding native prairie strips to 10 percent of crop areas reduces phosphorus and nitrogen runoff by 77 and 70 percent respectively, and lowers nitrate concentrations in groundwater by 72 percent

By Dr. Mercola

As reported by CBS Miami (above), nitrogen fertilizers and sewage sludge runoff from factory farms are responsible for creating an enormous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. As fertilizer runs off farms in agricultural states like Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and others, it enters the Mississippi River, leading to an overabundance of nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, in the water. 


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