American farmers’ use of fertilizer to grow crops results in a yearly oxygen-starved dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that kills fish, shrimp, and other sea creatures. But that’s not the only environmental issue fertilizer is responsible for. It also can contaminate drinking water, turn into smog, and contribute to climate change. How can we slow down a pollutant that we depend on for survival?

This video is part of the “Growing Food, Sowing Trouble” series published in partnership between Grist, the Center for Public Integrity — a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom that investigates betrayals of public trust — and The World, a radio program that crosses borders and time zones to bring home the stories that matter.