May 14th, 2014

The Problem with Pesticides in Our Yards

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Groovy Green Livin Pesticides in Our Yards

The smell of pesticides is in the air.

Can you smell them?

When spring hits in New England it hits hard. We always laugh because spring usually sticks around for a week or two and then we dive head first into the heat of summer. But for now it’s spring and we’re all enjoying sports and other outdoor activities after a long winter.

With the arrival of spring comes an overwhelming number of  landscaping trucks lining the roads. Each one competing for the neighbor’s lawn business. Each one promising to make your lawn the greenest of them all.

On my morning run I noticed many lawns with this sign poking out of the green grass.

Groovy Green Livin Pesticides

Along with the sign comes the overpowering smell of pesticides.

There’s something ironic about those small signs poking out of the super green grass. The sign is small. So small that you need to get up close to read it. There’s an outline of an adult, a child and a dog. According to the yellow card we should all keep off the grass.

I run through neighborhoods. I live in suburbia. The neighborhoods are filled with people. Children and pets are everywhere. How can we possibly keep off the grass?

What will happen if we don’t?

What’s the Problem with Synthetic Pesticides?

The synthetic pesticides we’re using on our lawn are filled with toxic chemicals. A chemical cocktail that’s meant to kill weeds and other non-desirable additions to a perfectly manicured lawn. These harmful pesticides end up flowing into lakes, streams and oceans and ultimately end up in our drinking water.

Our kids play outside and hopefully roll around on the lawn. If your kids are like my kids they get dirty and their skin comes in direct contact with the dirt, plants and grass.

The pesticides we’re using on our lawns are known in some cases to cause cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, hormonal disruption and other health issues.

For the life of me I can’t figure out why anyone would want something so toxic on their lawn.

Lack of Regulation 

This is another important reminder that just because something is on the shelves in the store doesn’t mean it’s safe. Unfortunately that’s the way our broken system is currently set up. There are virtually no regulations in place to keep us safe. The synthetic products we’re being encouraged to put on our lawns are filled with harmful and frightening ingredients.

Not something I want my kids rolling around on.

Pesticides and Our Chemical Free Lawn

A few days ago a lawn care company took the time to knock on our front door. Our lawn looks that bad.

The company employee suggested we use their services to whip our lawn into shape. Their services included multiple sprays and pesticide applications.

When we let him know that we already use an organic lawn care service he suggested we get an immediate refund.

Hmmm. Does a lawn covered with dandelions warrant a refund?

My neighbors might disagree (although many of them have their own sea of yellow), but my dandelions mean more than just a pretty yellow covering. They’re symbolic of a safe lawn for my kids and all kids to play on.

What You Can Do

Take your shoes off. In our house we are attempting to contain the toxin filled outdoors by declaring our home a “shoe free” zone.

Don’t use pesticides on your lawn and garden. Use nothing or find a brand or company that uses only organic ingredients that are safe for pets and people. Be prepared that your lawn might not look perfect, but you’ll be making the world a bit safer for all of us.

Where do you fall in the pesticide v. pesticide-free lawn care? Do you use pesticides and fertilizers? Or do you have a chemical-free lawn? 

photo credit: messycupcakes via photopin cc, Nathan Rein via photopin cc

7 Responses to “The Problem with Pesticides in Our Yards”

  1. I’m strongly in the no pesticides camp, why would we spray toxic crap on the lawns our kids roll around on? It makes no sense to me. I think we’re told that the perfect green lawn is the American ideal, but it seems many people are realizing that a green lawn shouldn’t trump the health and safety of our children’s brains. Bring on the dandelions.
    Lindsay recently posted..Ask Pepsi to stop using harmful palm oilMy Profile

  2. Last year my dog stopped wanted to go on a walk in the spring when the yard signs started coming out. I could barely get him to go a few houses away. He started having seizures and showed signs of serious neurological issues. After keeping him only on our pesticide free property did he eventually get better. It baffled our vet and the specialist because he was so clearly sick but not with anything they could figure out. It worries me about my kids and playing at the parks in towns that do not have pesticide rules (ours does).

    It is a huge problem, we have placed such a value on perfect green laws that we have forgotten about our own health.
    Leigh from recently posted..Why You Should Stop Eating Red Velvet CakeMy Profile

  3. I think you should rephrase a few things. 1) ” our lawn looked that bad” please add “to him”. 2) your lawn may not look perfect….hmmm. Does nature ever look perfect even though everything we’d do is to try to mimic it? What’s perfect? Perfect is safe. Perfect is usable. Perfect is durable and low cost.

  4. I agree Jodi- the appearance of my yard is entirely subjective. I happen to love the dandelions! Perfect is safe. Thanks so much for your comment.

  5. I’m glad you wrote about this because it’s something on my mind lately too. My husband wants the perfect lawn to fit our neighborhood (for the most part) but I think we can have a decent lawn without the poisons. I have been digging the dandelions and other weeds out and just maintaining the yard pretty good with no chemicals. The grass doesn’t grow great but oh well.

  6. This was bothering me so much the last couple of years and we finally found an organic lawn care company in the area. Our lawn isn’t as shiny as some of our neighbors, but I am so much more comfortable with my kids playing out in the yard now.

  7. Wow, great post! You certainly raise some excellent points, taking your shoes off before entering a home is definitely a very helpful tip. Thanks for sharing!

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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