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Daily News Blog

30
Mar

Lawsuit Challenges TruGreen Chemical Lawn Care Company for Deceptive Safety Claims; Pesticide Applications Stopped by Some States During COVID-19 Crisis as Nonessential

NOTICE: Beyond Pesticides urges Governors to stop the use of lawn pesticides during the COVID-19 crisis because the toxic chemicals used are typically immune and respiratory system toxicants, elevating key risk factors for those vulnerable to coronavirus hazards. Contact your Governor to classify chemical lawn care as non-essential.

(Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2020) Last week, Beyond Pesticides sued TruGreen, the national chemical landscaping company, for misrepresenting the safety of the toxic chemicals that it uses to treat lawns. The case is Beyond Pesticides v. TruGreen (DC Superior Court, Case No. 2020CA001973B, March, 20, 2020). At the same time, the organization is urging all states to prohibit toxic chemical spraying in neighborhoods as non-essential and hazardous. Widespread exposure to lawn pesticides, which are immune system and respiratory toxicants, can elevate serious risk factors associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus).

As part of its marketing, TruGreen tells consumers that it offers environmentally friendly, sustainable lawn care services that use no chemicals that may cause cancer, allergic reactions, or other health or environmental harms. These claims, according to Beyond Pesticides’ complaint, are false and deceptive and illegal under the laws of the District of Columbia.

Advocates suggest that during the COVID-19 crisis the cessation of pesticide applications in neighborhoods across the U.S. will reduce involuntary exposure to chemicals that exacerbate respiratory and immune system illness and risk factors associated with coronavirus. Lawn care services have been determined by some states to be non-essential services and are prohibited from applying chemicals and delivering other lawn services. However, TruGreen has notified customers that it will continue to deliver services where permitted. Some companies are reporting cancellations. The litigation is intended to curtail use of hazardous pesticides long-term.

TruGreen makes several claims to consumers that, according to the lawsuit, the company knows to be false. As stated in the complaint, “TruGreen purports to offer environmentally friendly, sustainable lawn care services that use no chemicals that may cause cancer, allergic reactions, or other health or environmental harms.” Beyond Pesticides shows that these claims are false and deceptive.

Quoting from TruGreen’s information to consumers, identified as false and deceptive in the ligitation:

“We will not approve products containing known or probable human carcinogens as defined by the U.S. EPA, the National Toxicology Program, or the International Agency for Research in Cancer [IARC].”

“We do not approve products that are known skin sensitizers or that may produce allergic reactions.”

“We do not approve products known or thought likely to leach to groundwater when applied to lawns.”

In fact, TruGreen uses the weed killer glyphosate (Roundup), which is identified by IARC of the World Health Organization as probably carcinogenic. It uses a chlorophenoxy (Tri-Power) another weed killer whose label warns of “irreversible eye damage” and “allergic reactions.” Another hazardous pesticide identified in the lawsuit is triclorfon (Dylox), a neurotoxic organophosate insecticide.

As stated in the complaint, TruGreen’ s representations are intended to, and do, portray to consumers that its lawn care services are environmentally responsible and free from harmful chemicals.

“It’s time that chemical lawn care companies to stop deceiving the public and their customers with deceptive, misleading, and false information on the real hazards of the pesticide they use,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “These practices are particularly abhorrent, given the availability of organic compatible products that do not cause harm,” said Mr. Feldman.

Beyond Pesticides advocates for the adoption of organic land management, a systems approach that eliminates toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers and builds organic matter and soil biology as a means of cycling nutrients for plant health. This approach is successfully and economically used in managing lawns, parks, and playing fields across the country.

TruGreen’s false and misleading representations and omissions violate the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“DC CPPA”), D.C. Code§§ 28-3901, et seq. Beyond Pesticides is represented by the Richman Law Group in New York City.

For more information on organic land management of lawns, parks, and playing fields, see Beyond Pesticides Lawns and Landscapes page.

Source: Beyond Pesticides v. TruGreen

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18 Responses to “Lawsuit Challenges TruGreen Chemical Lawn Care Company for Deceptive Safety Claims; Pesticide Applications Stopped by Some States During COVID-19 Crisis as Nonessential”

  1. 1
    Mary Beth Kohl Says:

    Please, Governor DeWine. Poison applied to the earth for any reason are not essential. We are living in a time where what we humans have done is causing a pandemic. I urge you to declare that cosmetic lawn care applications are non essential at this time —or ever.

  2. 2
    Retired Biologist Says:

    Perhaps now we can move towards getting rid of ALL lawns. Lawns are a false-prosperity scam startted after WW-II by the chemical companies and their pet politicians.

  3. 3
    Paul Says:

    I work for TruGreen in Michigan and my boss as we speak is trying to say we are starting back up Monday the 20th to do vegetation and mosquito spray. Besides I’ve done vegetation for over 10 years and it has done so much damage to my body and immune system and just because I look like I’m in great shape and people consider me healthy & decent-looking looking people, never believe me when I tell them the pains I experience at different times. I finally was going to get a check up with a doctor before we started back up but as we went back to work we were shut down due to the covid-19 crisis and our governor wants us to wait till May 1st to reserve our non shut down and besides I respect that I worry about my health and I want to make sure my health is good before starting spraying up chemicals. Now am I wrong for telling my boss I want to wait till May 1st to start and I truly feel this is a bad decision right now they make customers feel they need mosquito spray next week when it’s cold in Michigan and there’s no mosquitoes around it is so silly it’s all about money and saying everything is safe.

  4. 4
    Kathryn A VanHorn Says:

    I was just laughed at one of the trugreen employees when I told them NOT to spray in my complex strip. We got no warning that they would be spraying today and I have organic tomatoes I have grown from seed. I asked the trugreen guy if the stuff they were spraying was “natural” and “organic” and he shouts to me it is! OMG the chemical smell is so bad and I have an instant headache and feel like I want to vomit because I had to go out and shout to the employee who found it funny and laughed at me when I told to not spray near my place or plants. No one gave me any heads up so I could cover them! I can taste it since I was outside having to scream at him while he drove around laughing and told me I wont be happy when I have grubs?? OMG.. i’d rather have grubs than cancer! This is out right irresponsible and harmful to my health and I won’t stand it in my living area. How do I stop this?

  5. 5
    Christine Osburn Says:

    Tru Green burned my entire lawn 1 month ago. I have spoken to management and my yard has been thatched and reseeded but I still see very little new growth in a very small area and have not been reimbursed for anything. My entire lawn is burnt and striped. What more can I do to get reimbursed and my lawn repaired? Also I want compensation for the way it looks and I am having to water it constantly and have a pump that I fear is wearing out not to mention the cost and time spent on my “off” hours from my full time job.

  6. 6
    Bryson Newell Says:

    They spat poison and I get get headaches and skin irritations. I cannot go outside and stand trapped inside my house. Because the spray drifts this is infringing on my property and my rights as a homeowner. How is it legal for them to get chemicals on my property I don’t want? If someone is blasting music it’s disturbing the peace. How does this sane line of logic not apply to poison chemicals disturbing not only the peace but our health. This must stop!

  7. 7
    WV Landscaping Says:

    I am really happy that the pesticides advocate are looking into the adoption of organic land management. This is really have a huge impact on not only to the environment but also the humanity.

  8. 8
    Donna Herbert Says:

    BAN PARAQUAT, CHLORPYRIFOS, AND TRICHLOROETHYLENE – THESE CHEMICALS ALL INCREASE THE RISK OF PARKINSON’S! We are approaching an epidemic in Parkinson’s!

  9. 9
    rupinder Says:

    It’s a really great article, thanks for sharing such informative knowledge with us.

  10. 10
    A. H. Says:

    I can confirm that walking past houses treated in Boyds, MD, consistently causes an allergic reaction. Throat closes off, intense itching and difficulty breathing.
    Hoping this case is still active and proves successful.

  11. 11
    Laura Copeland Says:

    We are against all forms of poison. We have children, pets, CHICKENS who free range and an organic garden. Just this morning TruGreen “mistakenly” sprayed our entire yard, including entering our privacy fence and spraying all around the back yard while I’m sure our 15 chickens were following him around free ranging. Our garden is right in the middle of the yard. I’m livid and not sure what to do. We’ve called and they claim someone will call us back. I have my chickens in the run now but they were out for at least 2 hours. How is this mistake made? Why would they spray with animals actively in the yard? The address wasn’t even in this area. Any advice is welcome. I’m so upset. The garden and chickens were as organic as they come and we were trying to make a homestead here and be more self reliant. Now there is a blanket of poison on all of it I’m sure. It was very windy.

  12. 12
    Ciara Says:

    TruGreen sprayed on my neighbor’s lawn and on a windy day! It just rained and as the sprayer was used I felt the wind. Note dandelions are not harmful compared to the pesticide. Its a waste! Im growing organic wildflowers and trying to save the planet and now this? TruGreen left as soon as I said No pesticide! The employee knew it was windy and bad outside but he still did it, carelessly stepping on the chemical treated lawn. Not even trying to be precise with the sprayer he allowed it to drift. If its fertilizer I doubt its not with pesticide. Its going to rain again and my lake will be in trouble! TruGreen did this to too many! We were not warned, and TruGreen is careless. Please to all future readers please go organic!

  13. 13
    Arthur Leak Says:

    I have just had a spraying TG. The suit was newas news to me. I think I’m going to stop.

  14. 14
    John Says:

    I worked for trugreen back in 2019 through most of a season before one day I had enough and quit in the the middle of my route. We worked ays in light rain,windy conditions even treated partially flooded lawns (all things on the labels saying not to do) when I’d mention it was just played off as only applying to heavy rains/winds the more I learned as worked/and studied for the “restricted use Pesticide certificate” you must get within your first 60 or 90 days the less I dealt comfortable working there having children at home and pets…we were provided very decent PPE but it was more often than not i would come home with pant legs,socks And shoes soaked ..im only just now hearing of lawsuits and that is a little unnerving to read about especially when over the last year I’ve been battling massive headaches which I just attributed to my ADHD and schizoaffective disorder but I think i may have to talk with my doctor now. Because I never would have considered a possible connection due to my short time with the company …

  15. 15
    Rick Says:

    Governor Dewine – Step into the 21st century and look at how we are damaging this planet. If you want your grandkids to inherit a healthy earth, now is the time for change. Don’t “leave it ot the next guy”. Take action. Prohibit the use of these carcinogenic and deadly chemicals . Do people really need to brag to their neighbors that their lawn is greener?

  16. 16
    Robert Bunch Says:

    Many of us know these liquid chemicals are dangerous to our health, drifting in the air. Granulated fertilizer is less apt to cause human disabilities because it does not drift in the air and become breathable.

    I believe it will take a huge amount of public outrage and millions of dollars get legislators do their job on this and protect the American public.

  17. 17
    Laura L Murray Says:

    I live in a apartment, no notice, did’nt see signs first time I took my little dog out. Second time I saw signs immediately took my dog in washed his feet. Called tru-green, they would not tell me what chemicals are usef. Got the same story as everyone else. Don’t worry about it out chefs are safe. Well this little dog is all I have in this world, I would like to join a class action suit against TRU-GREEN!!! Just tell me how.

  18. 18
    Bryson Says:

    My neighbors constantly spray and we have absolutely no recourse. I get headaches and my skin itches. We have to close windows and are essentially living in a prison. There has to be a way we can fight back. Do we not have rights?

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