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Synthetic fertilizers have oozed into CA groundwater for decades




Migrant workers harvest strawberries at a farm near Oxnard, Calif. Ventura County is one of two counties where labor organizers hope to get a Bill of Rights passed to protect farm workers from abuse and wage theft.
Migrant workers harvest strawberries at a farm near Oxnard, Calif. Ventura County is one of two counties where labor organizers hope to get a Bill of Rights passed to protect farm workers from abuse and wage theft.
/Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

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Synthetic fertilizer has been used by California farmers for nearly seven decades. 

The main ingredient in that fertilizer, nitrogen, helps the Golden State produce more than half of the country's fruits and vegetables. Growers use more than 500 tons of it every year.

But new research is shedding light on the environmental impact of the practice. The study says that much of the nitrogen eventually ends up in local groundwater, and that's creating a big problem for farmers and nearby residents alike.

The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis conducted the study. Institute director Tom Tomich joined Take Two to explain the impact the seepage could have on nearby communities if action isn't taken. 

Press the blue play button above to hear the full interview.