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.
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, and 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 making their way into our homes, either carried in the wind through windows or air conditioners by drift or tracked into homes from shoes, where they contaminate indoor air and surfaces. Pesticides in our home can cocentrate to the point where they expose children to levels ten times higher than preapplication levels.
Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogencity, 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. With numbers like this, the only logical question becomes: is this really necessary and what can we do to stop or prevent this kind of contamination?
Members of the National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns are working to halt senseless exposure to lawn pesticides and to educate the public, landscapers, and policy makers on the use of non-toxic and least-toxic lawn care practices and products. Change begins at the local level. The public plays an extremely important role in lawn pesticide reform – not only in the way it perceives the use of toxic pesticides in homes and communities but also in the way it demands safe alternatives from retailers, organic services from lawn care providers, and better protection from pesticide exposure from local policy makers.
Coalition Members: Beyond Pesticides, Defenders of Wildlife, Environment & Human Health, Inc., Facts about Alternatives to Chemical Trespassing, Inc. (FACT), Grassroots Environmental Education, Greater Madison Healthy Lawn Team, Marin Beyond Pesticides Coalition, New Jersey Environmental Federation, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network North America, Safer Pest Control Project, Salem Pesticide Association, Texans for Alternatives to Pesticides, Toxics Action Center, Toxic Free NC, Washington Toxics Coalition, The Watershed Partnership