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“Refuse To Use ChemLawn” Campaign Launched in Massachusetts
(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2005)
Citing the public health and environmental dangers of lawn pesticides used by TruGreen ChemLawn (ChemLawn), Toxics Action Center, based in Boston, kicked off a campaign to urge homeowners to “Refuse to Use ChemLawn,” the largest lawn care service in the nation.

Toxics Action Center also released a 96-page report, Be Truly Green. Refuse to Use ChemLawn -- Why Lawn Care Pesticides are Dangerous to Your Children, Pets and the Environment, which documents the dangerous impacts of ChemLawn‘s services.

“When customers contract with ChemLawn, they believe they are signing up for a green plush lawn. What many customers do not know is that they are signing up for a program that exposes their children, pets and water supplies to an arsenal of toxic pesticides,” said Jay Rasku, Massachusetts State Director of Toxics Action Center.

Toxics Action Center analyzed the pesticides listed on a ChemLawn receipt and discovered:

* 53% (17 of 32) of ChemLawn’s pesticide products include ingredients that are possible carcinogens, as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
* All 32 of ChemLawn’s pesticide products include ingredients that pose threats to the environment, including threats to water supplies, aquatic organisms, and non-targeted insects.
* 13 of 32 (41%) of ChemLawn’s pesticide products include ingredients that are banned or restricted in other countries.

“These pesticides pose a significant threat to children and pets. As a doctor, I believe we should minimize our exposure to dangerous pesticides and I urge residents and industries to look for and use all possible healthy alternatives,” said Sean Palfrey, M.D. President, Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The report also shows the difficulty that customers may have finding out information about TruGreen ChemLawn pesticide products. The company’s website lists none of the pesticides used in its program and anecdotal evidence shows that ChemLawn’s telemarketers do not readily release information about the pesticides or their public health and environmental impacts.

“I hired TruGreen ChemLawn with their assurance that they would provide an effective and safe program for my lawn. But the next day my dog became violently ill and was treated for pesticide poisoning. As an expecting mom, I urge other parents to play it safe and avoid using pesticides,” said Joanna Glennon, from Melrose Massachusetts.

Toxics Action Center is urging residents to “Refuse to Use ChemLawn” until the company agree to demands to reduce its use of toxic pesticides, provide notification about the pesticides’ health impacts, and provide a truly organic lawn care service.

“We all want our lawns to be healthy and green. My experience is that you don’t need pesticides to get you there. Why expose our families and pets to these poisons, when there are safer and equally effective methods for lawn care?” said Mary Mintz, a New England Organic Farming Association (NOFA) accredited organic land care professional.

Toxics Action Center has set up www.RefuseToUseChemLawn.org to provide more information to residents about the campaign. Tools will be available for homeowners to initiate local outreach campaigns to educate their neighbors on the dangers of TruGreen ChemLawn. Since 1987, Toxics Action Center has assisted more than 500 neighborhoods across New England in their campaigns against toxic pollution issues in their community.

Take Action. Help stop the use of lawn pesticides in your community, on school grounds, in parks, and other public spaces. Educate your neighbors about the dangers of lawn pesticides and the efficacy of non-toxic alternatives. For more information, Beyond Pesticides’ lawn page.