Everyone wants the perfect lawn, but at what cost? Did you know that using pesticides and herbicides puts kids, pets, pollinators and wildlife in harm’s way? Without bees, butterflies, insects and birds there would be no ecosystems; there would be no us. That’s why Pesticide Free Rowayton is promoting nontoxic, beautiful lawns.
Here’s what you need to know:
• Of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 17 are possible or known carcinogens, 18 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system, 19 are linked to reproductive effects and sexual dysfunction, 11 have been linked to birth defects, 14 are neurotoxic, 24 can cause kidney or liver damage, and 25 are irritants.
• Children ages 6–11 have higher levels of lawn chemicals in their blood than all other age categories.
• Leukemia rates are consistently elevated among children whose parents used pesticides.
• Roundup, the most popular weed killer in the world, has as its most active ingredients glyphosate and 2,4-D, which are particularly toxic and dangerous. Recently a jury awarded more than $2 billion to cancer victims.
• Pets often walk through chemically treated lawns and absorb pesticides through their paws.
• Studies show that use of professionally applied pesticides is associated with a significant 70 percent higher risk of canine malignant lymphoma.
• Of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 30 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 29 are toxic to bees, 14 are toxic to mammals, and 22 are toxic to birds.
• Insect populations have declined 45 percent globally since 1974.
• Three billion birds in North America have been lost in the last 50 years in part because of pesticides on lawns.
• In 2013, the largest mass bumblebee death was recorded after a pesticide application—50,000 bees representing 300 colonies. Water Quality
• Of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are detected in groundwater and 20 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources.
• Scientists have discovered glyphosate contamination in 38 states. • Half of shallow wells within the U.S. have detectable levels of pesticides, while 20 percent of private wells contain at least one contaminant at levels of potential health concern.
What Can I Do?
It’s easy to go pesticide free! Organic lawncare is mainstream. Products are available at the Gardener’s Center in Darien. First, test your soil to determine what organic supplements you should add to make it healthy. Use organics and natural fertilizers, such as leaves and compost, to add nutrients to soil. If your soil is hard, compacted and full of weeds or bare spots, aerate it. Use grass seed on bare spots to crowd out weeds. Apply corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent for weed prone areas. Weeds that are not pulled and removed can be sprayed with horticultural vinegar. Contact local organic lawn and garden care companies for a consultation.
We suggest: John Distasio at Bee Green Lawn & Land Care in Norwalk, 203-554- 6184 / beegreenlawn.com; Jeff Cordulack at Organic Ways and Means Electric Landscaping, 203-724-1040 / organicways.org; and Paul Fujitani at Growing Solutions, 203-403-6552 / growso.com.