Fertilizing the Everglades

The article "Huge Environment Project Aims to Save Florida's Everglades," July 30, describes a threat to the Everglades as "phosphorus pollution from pesticides in farm-water runoff [which supports] new plant species which overpower native plants."I presume that the writer means fertilizers, not pesticides. Pesticides are used to control unwanted vegetation, insects, or fungi. Bluntly, they kill. Therefore, they are unlikely to cause increased growth of any plants and usually have such poor soil mobility that they could not be transported by water over the distances implied. Fertilizers, on the other hand, are used to maximize the yield of the crop and have a high soil mobility. This sloppy use of terminology wrongly indicts a class of very useful chemicals with an excellent safety record. Ignacio M. Larrinua, Indianapolis

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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