Phosphorous and nitrogen have very similar effects on the environment. In small amounts they are necessary fertilizers occurring naturally in nature. The problem happens when there is an overabundance of phosphorous or nitrogen due to agricultural runoff, discharge from wastewater treatment plants, etc and the chemicals enter ecosystems and promote excessive algae growth which then threatens other forms of life. There is no saying which one is necessarily worse because they seem share the burden of the overall problem.
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