Risks Involved With Miracle Gro Fertilizer

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Risks Involved With Miracle Gro Fertilizer
Many consumers use Miracle-Gro to keep their lawns green and weed-free. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Miracle-Gro is a slow-release lawn and garden fertiliser manufactured by the Scotts Company. Sold in bags of tiny, sand-like granules or fertiliser sticks that consumers push directly into the roots of plants, Miracle-Gro markets itself as a panacea for wan lawns and frail, failing gardens. However, consumers and government regulation agencies, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (which, in 2008, ordered a massive recall of several Miracle-Gro products due to concerns over misleading labelling), have expressed growing concern about the many risks entailed by use of Miracle-Gro fertiliser products.

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Health Risks

Scotts does not disguise the fact that direct contact with Miracle-Gro pellets is dangerous to the health of humans and pets. The packaging features stern warnings about the many health risks of consuming or coming into direct contact with the fertiliser, including vomiting and gastrointestinal upset and irritation of the mouth, nose and lungs. Although the fertiliser contains no known carcinogens, a pet or person who makes skin contact with Miracle-Gro is at risk for developing dermal irritation or a rash.

Environmental Risks

Miracle-Gro fertiliser has a slow-release formula that leaches the fertiliser on or near the plant roots. However, no plant can use all of the chemicals put out by the fertiliser. As a result, these chemicals return to the soil and build up. Over time, rain and runoff wash away the chemicals into oceans and streams, polluting the ecosystems and posing a toxic threat to the animals that depend on those ecosystems.

Garden Risks

Miracle-Gro fertiliser may harm the very plants it's supposed to fortify. One of the ingredients of the fertiliser is nitrogen, which, in large quantities, prevents flowering shrubs and trees from blooming as much. Miracle-Gro also contains high levels of salt, which over time strip the soil of its natural nutrients and prevent plants from absorbing them as well, causing a type of "lawn burn." Many consumers believe that more fertiliser will help their gardens even more, so overapplication and consumer misuse exacerbate these kinds of risks. Gardeners who apply Miracle-Gro overzealously run the risk of not only weakening their current crops, but also permanently damaging their gardening space.

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