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What are the dangers of using chemical pesticides and fertilizers?

Gary Ginsberg
Medical Toxicology
There are many actions we can take to show Mama Earth we still care about the planet and our future on it. One clear message is to go organic with your lawn and garden care. If not completely organic at first, you can at least use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to take control of your piece of real estate and nurse it back from addiction.

There are many reasons to do so, but as a toxicologist, it is my duty to put in front of you the emerging information about cancer risk. In yet another study, dogs were found to be at higher risk of canine malignant lymphoma (the dog version of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) if the yard was treated regularly by a lawn company.

Since such findings are still at the level of association without ironclad proof, the companies have plausible deniability and you probably won’t win a court case against them if your dog (or, god forbid, child) gets cancer. But why deal with the possible risk when it’s easy to just say no to one of the major sources of toxic chemicals most homeowners, children, and pets come in contact with -- lawn chemicals. Most people don’t realize that more pesticides and fertilizers are applied per acre on residential lawns than on commercial farms. It’s pointless to worry about the pesticides on your produce if you hire a commercial lawn company.

To show just how possible it is to cut back, cities and towns across Canada have been banning “cosmetic pesticide” use from its green spaces, tremendously reducing the use of fertilizer and herbicide.

And to help you right in your neighborhood, organic lawn care companies have been springing up that use biodiverse methods. Look for companies that know how to replenish the soil with organic “teas” and how to test the soil for what it is missing. Learn proper watering and mowing practices and natural methods of weed control (e.g., corn gluten). Safelawns.org is an excellent resource.

Your lawn will look great and your family will be safer. There won’t be days when you can’t walk on your lawn because of the pesticides. And oh yes -- Mama Earth will be a little less stressed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.