U.S. State-Level Legislation on Lawn Fertilizers
ABA Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee Newsletter
Tzvi Levinson & Gil Dror, Advocates
Lawn fertilizer has recently caught the attention of legislators in certain states concerned about the aggregate effects its use may have on the environment, and those legislative developments may affect the future of related toxic tort litigation in those states. The issue typically addressed by this legislation is that two common fertilizer nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, which are transported via runoff and drainage waters, can cause damage to groundwater and surface waters. Phosphorus, for example, can lead to growth of algae and weeds (i.e. eutrophication) while nitrates can contaminate groundwater supplies. The resultant legislative efforts in numerous states reflect evolving ecological concerns, especially in states with fragile watershed ecosystems, about the impact of lawn fertilizers on water resources.