THE CARE THAT KILLS - toxicity of lawn care pesticides herbicides effects on human health - cancer, autism, pregnancy, children, environment
How Lawn Care Pesticides, Herbicides Synthetic Fertilizers Affect Your Health
Spring is wonderful right? The snow gradually melts away as winter loosens its bitter grip and the soil breaths again. This should be a magnificent time, stepping outdoors one should be able to notice the fresh smell that defines this moment in the seasons… spring is here once more.
However, many people do not realize that this is a dangerous time, a point that signals the coming of an onslaught of toxins. No, not form nature, from people. Each year starting in early spring and ongoing into the month of October millions of gallons of toxic chemicals are applied onto the lawns of America's households. These toxins drain into lakes, streams, underground aquifers and water reserves poisoning them and us. When humidity rises from the ground, so do the pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers along with it. And we inhale them.
The unfortunate truth is that we cannot avoid these "weapons of mass destruction". They are everywhere. Even if you yourself do not use them (you eat organic food, grow an organic garden use natural home products) it is still guaranteed that the blood levels of these toxins in your body are at lethal amounts, high enough to initiate critical irrevocable damage to your organs and hormonal system. In today's world we cannot choose not to be exposed to pesticides. We are forced to encounter their constant applications. A cigarette you can choose to not to smoke. Second hand smoke affects those who are within a couple of feet of the smoker. Pesticides, on the other hand, are everywhere and merciless with their destructive capabilities.
Homeowners are constantly being brainwashed by the pesticide industry to tolerate nothing on their yards except an artificial grass. Each year beginning in spring we are bombarded with TV commercials describing the application of toxic pesticides and herbicides as something necessary, a must for any homeowner taking pride in his/her property. People were led to believe that this practice is needed. Majority of people cannot imagine not applying pesticides to their lawn. This would be a sign of great neglect of their property and if they live in a respectable neighborhood it would be unacceptable. Oh! That peer pressure.
False Advertising of Pesticides and Herbicides by Lawn Care Manufacturers
Certainly almost everyone in America has seen some sort of TV commercial in which pesticides and herbicides are portrayed as a beneficial necessity to your lawn or garden. Some of these commercials show a man spraying RoundUp on his lawn. This man then lovingly brushes his hand over that freshly sprayed grass and rests his face on the same hand that just touched the herbicide. Looking very content with his work he is obviously unaware that by exposing himself to glyphosate (a major ingredient of RoundUp that is very toxic to humans, increasing the risk for cancer, including brain cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, depression, autism and Parkinson's disease) he has endangered his life and the life of anyone who steps on that lawn.
Homeowners who hire lawn care services believe they themselves are not at any risk.
These people do not realize that by walking on this chemical lawn, pesticides are brought indoors where they become embedded in the carpet or other fabrics and slowly out-gas over a period of many years.
How Pesticides, Herbicides and Synthetic Fertilizers Affect Human Health
Lawn care implies a beneficial act; however the only benefit it brings is the enormous profit to pesticide manufactures. The toxicity to humans is often downplayed by the petrochemical industry. They portray their products as being not harmful to humans. However one must realize that pesticides and herbicides were designed to kill. This is their role. Pesticides may kill an insect instantly, due to the simple fact that an insect is much smaller then a human. Nonetheless these chemical agents will kill you as well. The only difference is that a human will die a very painful, slow and torturous death of cancer inflicted by years of low dose exposure to pesticides.
Lawn chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers have been documented to significantly increase the risk for neurological defects such as brain cancer and Parkinson's disease. Scientists at Harvard University found that "low dose exposure to pesticides such as majority of American people experience increases risk for the development of Parkinson's disease by 70 percent".
Men are more susceptible to the mutagenic effects of pesticides then women. Higher levels of the female hormone estrogen in a woman's body seem to play a protective role. Lawn chemicals are endocrine disruptors, which means they damage human endocrine glands and alter normal hormone release.
Want to have the best lawn in the neighborhood? Follow the advice of Harvard Scientists:
Harvard University conducted a study on its campus lawn, where one acre of that lawn was cared for in entirely natural and organic manner without the use of any pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or synthetic fertilizers. The effect of this natural organic lawn care experiment "yielded outstanding results". "The soil in that one acre became far healthier than those acres treated with chemicals and the roots of the organically treated grass grew deeper than anyone could have imagined." Since then, Harvard has been saving approximately two million gallons of water per year. It normally cost $35,000 to dispose of landscape waste from the campus that now is converted into a natural fertilizer. Synthetic fertilizers use to cost $10,000 and produced nothing more then withering grass and dry rock hard soil. Now the soil has the consistency of a moist sponge and the grass' roots are able to sprout further providing for a healthy emerald green lawn.
The Effects of Pesticides on the Environment
According to a U.S. Geological survey 96 percent of all fish in the U.S. streams, rivers and lakes were found to have residues of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, all groundwater in the Midwest United States showed Atrazine (an endocrine disrupting and neurotoxic herbicide) contamination higher then levels allowed by the EPA.
Pesticides are immune suppressants. The outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in China has been linked to elevated levels of pesticides in the environment.
April Showers Bring Sick Babies
Pesticides are especially toxic to children. The endocrine and immune systems of children are still in the process of development so they are at a much greater risk then adults and their body size is smaller. Children also tend to play more outdoors on the grass.
"Using pesticides where children are present is like sticking a cigarette into a child's mouth".
According to Paul D. Winchester, professor of neonatology at the University of Indiana, School of Medicine, children conceived in spring and early summer have a higher risk for various birth defects including spina bifida, cleft palate and Down Syndrome. This correlates with the increased levels of pesticides in the environment applied during the same period from April to July.
Banning Pesticides, Realizing the Dangers of These Toxic Chemicals
Health Canada, a governmental organization that regulates pesticide use in Canada, announced that all pesticides and fertilizer products used for cosmetic purposes will be phased out by December 2012. This decision was a result of many Canadian public health and environmental organizations including the Canadian Academy of Pediatrics and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation petitioning their government to stop poisoning Canadian citizens by use of pesticides.
In January of 2009 the European Union banned 22 of the most toxic pesticides linked to genetic mutation, endocrine disruption and carcinogenicity. Many of these pesticides continue to be used in the United States.
In the U.S., New Hampshire Representative Suzanne Smith sponsored House Bill 1456 to investigate the effects of pesticides and herbicide use in residential neighborhoods. However the pesticide industry has already sent lobbyists to kill this bill.
People in America pride themselves as being the leaders setting an example for other nations to follow. Then why when true progress is involved we fall so far behind the rest of the world?