Exposure to pesticides and herbicides can increase the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis and other breathing problems, studies show and these hazards can be amplified by the coronavirus pandemic.

As the weather warms and we focus on our lawns and gardens, it’s a good time to break up with pesticides and move to safer and more sustainable lawn care options.

Pesticides pose a threat to the immune and respiratory systems that could make those exposed more susceptible to the coronavirus. Chronic diseases such as asthma, allergy, emphysema and COPD disrupt normal immune system function that results in inflammation. This inflammation can prompt a heightened response to viruses such as COVID-19. In the U.S., these diseases have been on the rise and are associated with an increase in chemicals used in pesticides and other products.

Chemical-intensive lawn care is not essential. There are safe alternatives to greening your lawn that don’t require the use of harmful toxins. These include testing your soil, planting well-adapted pest-resistant grass, aerating lawns, proper watering and mowing with blades set to 3 inches. Instead of spraying, weeds can be pulled by hand or sprayed with horticultural vinegar.

Read more tips on sustainable lawn care recommended by Beyond Pesticides and learn more about FoA’s efforts to promote pesticide-free communities here.