Mounting evidence shows native grasses could destroy explosives pollution

Kansas City StarJune 16, 2009 

COLUMBIA — Besides the obvious reason, TNT is not good for you.

But grass, it turns out, might be dynamite for the problem.

TNT contaminates hundreds of sites, from military firing ranges to old production dumps to waterways, and poses a threat to the human nervous system and to the liver and kidneys. It’s suspected to cause cancer. It can cause allergic reactions and attack the immune system, and it may lead to birth defects.

Left alone in the soil, TNT breaks down into an even more toxic substance.

If the problem is left in the dirt, maybe that’s where the solution can grow.

Three Missouri researchers have hit on an idea that could potentially scrub away the TNT danger: Simply plant the right kind of grass.

The notion started with mounting evidence that native grasses could render harmless a common weed killer.

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