Lawn Care: Pesticide Hazards and Alternatives
Public concern over the potential hazards associated with chemical lawn care products and services has been on a steady rise. And with good reason. Annually, 67 million pounds of lawn pesticides are used in and around homes and gardens, and in industrial, commercial and government settings. Alarmingly, suburban lawns and gardens receive far heavier pesticide applications per acre than most other land areas in the U.S., including agricultural areas.
Worse yet, these hazardous chemicals that are continually applied to our lawns and gardens have been found tracked into our homes. One recent study found residues of the toxic herbicide 2,4-D contaminating indoor air and surfaces, exposing children at levels ten times higher than preapplication levels.
Such widespread use and exposure is alarming considering that of the 36 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 14 are probable or possible carcinogens. Additionally, 15 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 24 with neurotoxicity, 22 with liver or kidney damage, and 34 are sensitizers and/or irritants.
Beyond Pesticides is working to halt such senseless exposure and encourage use of least toxic and non-toxic lawn care practices. Activists play an extremely important role in lawn pesticide reform, and Beyond Pesticides continually provides resources to educate the public on the hazards of these chemicals and on existing alternatives to them. These resources include testimony, fact sheets, studies and GAO reports.
For consumers, in addition to the wealth of information on alternatives, Beyond Pesticides has put together a growing directory of companies that are interested in providing the least-toxic services that are currently in demand. The Safety Source for Pest Management can be used for pest problems in homes, commercial sites, schools, parks, golf courses, and more. This is our free service to people interested in managing their pests without poisoning themselves, their families or environment, and to the pest management companies that give them this option.
701 E Street SE #200, Washington DC 20003 • phone 202-543-5450 • fax 202-543-4791 • www.beyondpesticides.org