Most people have never heard about ammonium nitrate fertilizer. From the name, it is safe to assume that it is used in gardening or farming. But why should anyone care about what it is or what it does? The fertilizer itself does great things for the farming community. But anyone who paid attention in a basic chemistry class could tell you that ammonium nitrate is a volatile combination. The unstable combination of these chemicals has quite a lot of people quite concerned. The more people learn about his fertilizer, the more they find that they care a great deal about it.
What, exactly, is ammonium nitrate fertilizer? It is a chemical compound made up of about 27-percent nitrogen and 8-percent calcium carbonate usually available in granule form. Many farmers benefit from using this fertilizer compound on their vegetable or fruit crops because it is extremely affordable and does a great job bolstering all kinds of harvests.
Fertilizers are necessary to help keep soil healthy and to help plants to thrive. Most farmers love to use this type of fertilizer because it has very little effect on the PH level in the soil. The presence of nitrates in the formula provides a virtually uninterrupted supply of nitrogen to the crops with not only helps to make crops more productive but it also allows farmers to apply it regardless of the season.
The fertilizer is also flexible when it comes to use in any location and the amount that should be applied to the land. Depending on the kind of soil and climate, as long as the fertilizer is used consistently to deliver a constant supply of nitrogen to the fields it should be productive.
Each crop a farmer produces and harvests draws valuable nutrients from the soil. Using ammonium nitrate fertilizer is one of the most cost effective and dependable ways farmers can replace these nutrients in order to plant more crops. It can also be easily stored in large quantities under tarp or in a dry, cool and well-ventilated storage area. Farmers benefit from using ammonium nitrate because it saves them money and gives them more flexibility in their crops.
Yet farmers are not the only ones who seek to take advantage of the benefits of ammonium nitrate. In fact, construction companies have started to use it as their preferred explosive over dynamite! It is far more stable than their traditional explosives and it won’t burst without a hydrogen and carbon compound as well as a detonation point.
Unfortunately, there some who seek out the simple yet powerful compound of ammonium nitrate to do harm to others. One of the most notorious examples of this was in 1995 at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. A truck bomb containing two tons of this fertilizer was ignited by a domestic terrorist and cost 168 people their lives as well as destroyed the building.
The United States isn’t the only country where this fertilizer is available. Terrorists around the world seek out large quantities of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in order to harm others for what they consider to be their cause. It is easily available and not strictly regulated in many locations.
Although terrorists are a major concern when it comes to the availability of the fertilizer, accidental detonation is an issue as well. In 1947, someone happened to discard their cigarette in the S.S. Grandcamp in Texas City, TX which was carrying a huge cargo of the fertilizer. It set off a fire and 567 people ultimately died from the accident.
The fertilizer is proven to be beneficial to the agricultural community, but some people worry that such a volatile substance should be strictly regulated for safety reasons. Not only could terrorists use it against any number of targets, it can also cause devastating accidents for the general public.
Europe has been tightening their regulations and the United States is slowly following suit. Some countries have simply made ammonium nitrate fertilizer illegal like Ireland and Germany. But farmers are concerned that strict regulations or outright banning on the substance would slow production and increase their costs.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of ammonium nitrate and its availability in your area, it is a good idea to find out if there are any current regulations, how it impacts your community and any potential risks. Everyone is ultimately affected by the fertilizer and you can make a difference whatever your views are on the subject.