The Dangers of Lawn Chemicals

The world is rapidly changing and with it are perspectives on the use of toxic lawn chemicals and the hazards they pose to our children, families, neighbors, wildlife, and drinking water sources.

The Gardener's Guide to Common Sense Pest Control.

If you have a home, an apartment, a garden, or a pet (or, in some cases, housemates or tenants), you've probably got pests. And if you want to control pests, there's no need to poison yourself. The science of pest control has given us potent but highly toxic chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides. Not only are these products causing increasing hazards to our health, they are also spurring the rapid growth of insect resistance.

This book, first published in 1991 and updated in early 2013, focuses on designing a management program for pests. It is a reference for homeowners and home gardeners, a text for students, professional pest control personnel, maintenance workers and people who serve the public by selling pest control products. It provides solutions by placing emphasis on a decision-making process rather than a product-oriented solution. By reading about the problem and observing the circumstances of the problem, one can find the means to permanently modify the pest problem without resorting to hazardous scorched earth pesticide applications. This book is a highly recommended reader-friendly introduction to least-toxic Integrated Pest Management.

Public concern over the potential hazards associated with chemical lawn care products and services has been on a steady rise. And with good reason. Some 100 million pounds of pesticides are used by homeowners in homes and gardens each year, even more when commercial companies are added in. Suburban lawns and gardens are known to receive far heavier pesticide applications per acre than most other land areas in the U.S., including agricultural areas.

Studies show that these hazardous lawn chemicals are drifting into our homes where they contaminate indoor air and surfaces, exposing children at levels ten times higher than pre-application levels.

Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity, and 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system.

Of those same 30 lawn pesticides, 17 are detected in groundwater, 23 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 24 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 11 are toxic to bees, and 16 are toxic to birds.

Ideally, determine first if you really need to use a control. If so, determine if it can be done by changing to a different mower height, using less or more irrigation, draining wet areas, or altering other cultural practices. Investigate mechanical means (digging, removing, covering) of achieving your desired results.

Use lawn chemicals wisely, and only if you have to. Instructions are printed on the container or come with the product, follow them exactly. Share unneeded product with a family member or neighbor or dispose of it at the Household Toxic Waste Collection. Do not allow any product to enter the storm drains, they drain directly into the creek.