The rise in the use of synthetic fertilizer, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, has caused environmental disasters in many regions of the world, contributing to water pollution and associated health impacts, and poor air quality and premature deaths. The overuse of synthetic fertilizer use can negatively affect soil organic matter, reducing soil fertility over time, and intensify the effects of drought on agriculture land.

In 2022, the price of synthetic fertilizer spiked in connection to the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the largest fertilizer companies made billions, with prices for farmers and governments increasing, too. Rising fertilizer prices and excess corporate profits are not a one-time blip but rather a sign of things to come if major reforms aren’t made. Goverments must support a transition to farming systems that reduce our reliance on synthetic fertilizer, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and improve farm income and food security.

The Fertiliser Trap
The Fertiliser Trap


The inclusion of dangerous chemicals within farm fertilizers can have severe environmental and health effects, while contaminating farmland. Recent discoveries of so-called forever chemicals called Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) on farmland has raised new awareness about the critical importance of strong regulatory protections for fertilizers. IATP's work to protect farmland from PFAS-contaminated fertilizer follows past work to block the use of sewage sludge and other industrial toxic waste as fertilizer. Learn more about our PFAS work.


Industrial Toxic Waste