Why Fertilizer Is Dangerous (Infographic)
Ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient in fertilizer, can be powerfully explosive under certain conditions.
Credit: Karl Tate, Livescience.com Infographics Artist

Nitrogen, one of three common additives to agricultural fertilizer, is often in the form of ammonium nitrate, a potentially explosive chemical compound. 

Thirty-four production plants across America produce nitrogen fertilizer. The facility in West, Texas that exploded on April 17, 2013, was a retail facility, not a production facility. There are around 6,000 retail facilities around the country that sell fertilizer directly to farmers.

Ammonium nitrate can explode under conditions of heat or shock. The chemical was a component of the bomb used by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995.

 

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