The Other Global Pollutant: Nitrogen Proves Tough to Curb

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Science  09 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5545, pp. 1268-1269
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5545.1268

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POTOMAC, MARYLAND- A surfeit of nitrogen, from fertilizers and the burning of fossil fuels, is harming ecosystems and threatening public health. Although the disruption of the nitrogen cycle has largely failed to attract the sweeping public attention accorded to other global pollutants, ecologists say that nitrogen's impacts are at least as great. Yet control efforts are lagging, according to some 400 experts who met here last month to ponder how to plug nitrogen leaks while still feeding and powering the world.