Toxics: Australian for Fertilizer
Businesses across Australia are legally disposing of their industrial waste by selling it as fertilizers for farms and home gardens, according to an investigative report by the Sydney Morning Herald. The fertilizers often contain such toxic metals as arsenic, mercury, chromium, and lead. In western Australia, radioactive material from aluminum refineries is being used at cattle ranches; in other parts of the country, waste from zinc smelters, power stations, and cement kilns is spread on farms and gardens. The country doesn’t regulate the content of fertilizers, and environmental and agricultural officials contend that the levels of the metals in the fertilizers are harmless — though they rarely do the testing themselves, instead taking companies at their word that the products are safe. (Warning: American readers should not conclude that the situation is out-of-whack only in the land Down Under; most states in the U.S. also do not regulate the levels of toxic metals in regular fertilizers.)
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