As we approach Summer, and those lazy days spent lounging in the yard (if you’re like me), or working in it, (if you’re like some other people), consider these facts before renewing your lawn service, or self-applying anything to it:
1. The most commonly used herbicide, 2, 4 D, was an active ingredient in Agent Orange, and has been linked to non-hodgkins lymphoma in humans, malignant lymphoma in dogs, and increased incidences of malignant tumors in rats.1 It has been banned in Denmark and Sweden.
2. Atrazine, Another common pesticide used by lawn services, has been linked to birth defects, and low birth weights (at levels 30 times lower than EPA safe limits), and has caused reproductive abnormalities in frogs, such as low sperm count and hermaphroditism. It is listed by the EPA as a ‘potential hormone disrupter’ and has been banned in the European Union since 2o04. 2
3. Residues from outdoor pesticides are tracked indoors by pets and people’s shoes, and when sheltered from sun and rain, can persist for years in carpets. A CDC Study of almost 10,000 people nationwide found 13 of 23 pesticides in 100% of people tested, with the highest levels in children. 3
4. An estimated three million tons per year of fertilizers are used on American lawns. These ‘nutrients’ get washed into area lakes and rivers when it rains, causing stinky, slimy algae blooms, which decompose leaving oxygen depleted “dead zones” and killing aquatic life. Experts consider this ‘nonpoint source pollution’ to be one of the worst threats to the Great Lakes. 4 According to Andy Knott, Executive Director of The Watershed Center, runoff from chemicals on treated land, is the primary way that pollutants enter our watershed, including Grand Traverse Bay.
5. 100% organic lawn care actually creates a healthier lawn. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers destroy the beneficial organisms in your lawn, causing it to become addicted to more and more high doses of nitrogen, and weakening the root system. Organic lawn care builds healthy soil and a deep root system. This creates strong healthy grass, which then acts as a natural weed control. 5 According to www.safelawns.org, a healthy lawn is easy to obtain by assessing your lawns needs with soil testing, making necessary amendments (100% organic), followed by proper watering and mowing. 6