Environmentalists say many conventional fertilizers contain two of the three chemicals federal authorities are trying to reduce in the Chesapeake Bay.
The group Environment Maryland calls grass grown for lawns, golf courses and parks the biggest crop in the state, saying it takes up more acreage than that of corn or soy.
Megan Cronin of Environment Maryland says the fertilizers used to grow that grass, common because soil in the state is usually not conducive for growing grass, is currently unregulated.
"Fertilizer contains the same pollutants -- nitrogen and phosphorus -- that create dead zones in the Bay every summer. In the last 20 years, non-farm sales of fertilizer in Maryland have tripled," she says.
Environment Maryland is calling on the General Assembly to pass a bill that would ban fertilizers with phosphorus that are specifically designed to be used on lawns. Phosphorus and nitrogen are two of three chemicals the federal Environmental Protection Agency has ordered to be lowered in the Bay under its cleanup plan.