The Cost of a Beautiful Lawn

It is widely known that the pesticides/herbicides we use on our lawns can cause health problems. Many are toxic and are hormone disrupters. They're meant to kill both plants and insects and can cause birth defects, nerve damage, cancer and other problems that can manifest in people in different ways. This would all depend on the extent of exposure. These toxins lodge in the fatty tissues of our bodies accumulating over years which is why it takes years for health issues to become recognizable. Children and pets are especially vulnerable to pesticides.


These toxic chemicals wash into the groundwater and into our precious harbor and sound. We are currently seeing problems with lobsters, bats, bees and frogs. This is a clear warning. Some insects and plants become stronger and are able to adapt to pesticide/herbicide use making the chemical companies create an even stronger mix.

Our nation alone used 540 million pounds of pesticides in 1964 and a staggering 1.1 billion pounds in 1993. The numbers are shocking. When you purchase food at the supermarket, not only is your family ingesting pesticides & herbicides, but huge Agra farms are using billions of pounds which eventually seep into groundwater. All water everywhere in the world is polluted, it's just a matter of degree.
Living so close to the water in Milford, it is our responsibility to make sure our harbor and waterways are as clean as we can keep them. Our children and pets play, drink and bathe in water, wild animals depend on it for survival. Birds that eat insects that have been tainted with pesticides can die, or like humans, their immune systems become weakened and are susceptible to disease. Dogs run a higher risk of contracting non-Hodgkins Lymphoma from herbicide use. Don't you and your children touch your pets?

I recall a study Israel did back in the 90's that found that woman's breast cancer biopsies contained pesticide residue. A study on organochlorines at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine also found a link between the two. If you see studies saying certain chemicals are safe, and you're hearing much to the contrary, look at who is funding the study. It's usually the chemical industry. Always follow the money trail.

Transnational chemical company executives end up on the boards of the EPA, USDA and the FDA. They get laws passed that benefit the companies they came from, and then go back to work for the companies after they get THEIR bills passed. Even today, President Obama has appointed chemical industry supporter, Tom Vilsack, as the USDA chief. This is a gross conflict of interest. Are their decisions going to benefit us, or companies like Monsanto?

Chemical companies claim their Genetically Modified foods, especially corn and soy, will give bigger crop yields and feed the world. This is false. They actually have to use more pesticides and herbicides as their systems fail. These companies are only loyal to the bottom line and they are so entwined with our government, we'll need something stronger than they make to eliminate the sham that has been going on in DC.

Canada has banned pesticide use to a large degree. What is wrong with us? Are we that vain? Do we care more about how our lawns & yards look than we care about our families and environment? It is a moral question and the answer seems obvious. There are alternatives. I am not advocating we don't take a little RoundUp to kill poison ivy, but to douse it on entire lawns is killing us.

Just walk through the lawn chem aisles of the Home Depot or Lowes and see how strong the odor is. Every item that's sold is going on someone's lawn & into our water supply. Labeling claims they contain mostly 'inert' ingredients. Inert doesn't mean safe. It's a clever word used by the chem industry to make you think it's safe. Some are harmless, but some can be highly toxic and dangerous independent of the active ingredient. By reading the label, you will never know which is which.

Don't try to get rid of the clover in the yard. Clover actually improves lawns by adding greenness, fixing nitrogen (big fertilizer expense taken care of), diversifies plants in your lawn, attracts parasitoid wasps, which are helpful to anyone growing fruit, (These wasps don't sting), and bees can gather pollen for honey. Some people are beginning to grow only clover in their yards, but the best is a diversified yard.

I think we must all ask ourselves "Are our actions creating a safe world we want our children to live in?"

Article originally appeared in The Milford-Orange Bulletin
Author: Chris Wrinn

There are natural & safe ways to kill weeds and I'll explain them in my next blog. Please don't use chemicals unless absolutely necessary.

Comments

  1. Excellent point!!! I'm very interested in the alternatives!

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  2. Sadly, right now, money talks. Power talks. But, as more and more people understand the risks involved we will change the course of things. There are tons of green alternatives out there, sometimes it just takes a bit more effort to find them. We have a firm 'no shoes in the house' policy, one of the reasons is pesticides. Some studies say that chemicals brought in on shoes expose you to even more pesticides than than eating conventional foods which are loaded with them. Thanks for the post, I love this kind of info! :)

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  3. That's an excellent suggestion, Simply Smitten! We have a neighbour that doesn't put signs up as required by law. I try to watch and keep my cat inside for a while.

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