Cruise through any suburban neighborhood during the warm time of the year and you’ll see a very common sight: lots of lush, deep green, inviting lawns. Many of those lawns feature grass that’s so thick and cushy that it makes you want to strip off your shoes and socks and traipse through the lawn barefoot.
But in many lawns, that probably wouldn’t be a smart move.
That’s because many of the lawns in a typical suburban setting don’t come by their good looks naturally. Many of those lawns, you might say, are chemically dependent. They rely upon regular hits of a cocktail of rather nasty chemicals to maintain their pretty façade.
That cocktail of chemicals is comprised of a smorgasbord of lawn care products that lots of homeowners have been using for decades. They’re available for purchase at any gardening center or home improvement store. They require no special license or training to use. And they may be deadly.
Do Weed Killers and Bug Killers Kill People, Too?
Plenty of people have long been suspicious about many of the chemical used in lawn care. There’s always been an undercurrent of distrust about the safety of these products. But now that undercurrent of distrust appears to growing into a mainstream torrent of alarm.
Experts have recently testified before congress about those concerns. They fear that these chemicals may be at the root of many human illnesses. They’re concerned that the chemicals can damage the developing nervous systems of children, triggering problems such as learning disabilities and behavioral problems. In adults these common lawn-care chemicals are suspected of causing or contributing to many chronic diseases, including Parkinson’s and a range of cancers.
And while the harm these chemicals may be causing is unquantified and speculative, it’s undisputed that once you’ve ingested these chemicals or absorbed them through your skin, they remain in your body for a very long time. Some pesticides remain in the human body for decades once ingested. And of course the chemicals that you apply to your lawn don’t remain in your lawn. The chemicals leach into groundwater reservoirs and are eventually flushed into our rivers, lakes and oceans, causing widespread environmental contamination.
Some experts, though, claim that there’s no cause for concern. They note that many commonly used lawn chemicals have been in use for many decades, and that there’s no direct evidence that they’re to blame for any human illnesses.
Decide For Yourself
Without a preponderance of indisputable evidence supporting either side, it’s up to each individual homeowner to decide whether to use these chemicals in the care of their lawns.
But likely nobody in either camp – pro-chemical or anti-chemical – would disagree that if you use these chemicals, you’d best be careful about how you use them.