If you are like many homeowners, your Memorial Day weekend involves parades, BBQ, and lawn care. You might have started your weeding and fertilizing efforts weeks ago, but if not, the three day weekend is a good opportunity to get the lawn in shape through hard work and chemicals. Unfortunately, this springtime ritual of using pesticides has many downsides.
Problems With Pesticides
Your lawn cannot absorb all the chemical input, so 40 to 60% of the nitrogen in the product runs off in surface water or ultimately leaches into the ground. You can do the math, but Americans apply million tons of fertilizer and 70 to 90,000,000 tons of pesticides to their lawns each year, which means widespread exposure to chemicals.
While some people are very sensitive to these chemicals and develop allergic reactions to them, most of us absorb the chemicals into our body with uncertain effects. Studies done by BeyondPesticides.org have shown high rates of asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems among farmers use large quantities of pesticides, households who frequently use insecticides, and among children exposed to herbicides before their first birthday.
There is growing evidence that pesticides are harmful to wildlife. Honeybees are dying off while 60 to 70,000,000 birds in the U.S. die each year from pesticide poisoning. What makes the problem even worse is that besides the run off into land and water, pesticides are over applied, applied to adjacent areas where pesticides are not needed, can impact people, wildlife, and air quality far from the source.
Few Pesticide Bans In Place, So Take Care
While some pesticides have been banned in the United States by the EPA, there are plenty of toxic chemicals that are still available for lawn care. This is in strict contrast to Canada where certain provinces have banned pesticides...