Springtime and early summer have everyone outside and tending to their lawn and gardens. It’s a great time to prep your lawn and gardens so they’ll be green all year. But for many homes that means using dangerous lawn fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides of all kinds. You might be thinking, “Those don’t matter, they stay outdoors and then dissipate.” Even though the bottle might say it’s completely safe to be in your lawn after an allotted time has passed, this isn’t necessarily accurate.
Pesticides and lawn treatments hang around in your yard for a longer duration, not to mention they easily get tracked inside your home on your shoes and clothing. Often times these applications cause the air to become polluted for a period of time during use as well. This is especially true of sprayers that can have a large area of over-spray, allowing the solution to end up in more places than intended.
If you have pets or kids, these risks are amplified due to their smaller bodies and systems that come into contact with these problematic lawn treatments.
WEED KILLERS & LAWN FERTILIZERS
The chemicals we use in our yards in today’s modern society ranges from pest treatments to lawn fertilizers to weed preventatives and treatments. We use toxic chemicals to get rid of insects, to make our lawn bright green and to kill any weed that might compromise that pristine lawn. These synthetic chemicals can enter our bodies through the skin, inhalation and ingestion quite easily.
One of the most common lawn maintenance chemicals used is weed killer. A study published in JAMA in 2017 finished a long term observation of individuals for 2-3 year periods. The research found that chemicals specific to weed killers are being found in the urine and fatty tissue in humans. This is an eye opening statistic as we learn more and more about the chemical dangers around us. Even our weed killers are ending up inside our body, affecting our systems at toxic levels.
CHILDREN AND PESTICIDES
BeyondPesticides.org has published an incredibly helpful fact sheet specifically about the harm that pesticides have on our children, even before they’re born. One of the large problems with the toxins contained within pesticide products is their longevity. The toxins not only travel quickly, but stay in the bloodstream for long periods of time. Tests and studies have shown that pesticides such as weedkillers are being found in urine and breast milk as they travel throughout the body.
Because children are often times in close proximity to the ground, or crawling on the ground, they are at a higher risk for exposure to toxins through inhalation and through coming in contact with their skin. The greater risk is that children’s pesticide exposure has a greater effect on their developing bodies in comparison to adults simply due to their body weight. The same amount of pesticides that an adult comes in contact with may have a huge impact on a small child’s body.
Studies have also found that there are increased risks of childhood cancers and tumors when pregnant mothers are exposed to pesticides. Mothers who live in agricultural regions have the highest risk as the pesticides are stronger and used more widely.
Other problems that have been studied and linked to pesticides include learning and developmental disorders, asthma and higher risk of allergies in children. They’ve also been linked to problems with immune system function, creating a problematic cycle of illness and allergies long term.
INDOOR BUG KILLERS
Another form of pesticides is our indoor bug repellents and killers. Often these are filled with chemicals and harmful toxins and sprayed from aerosol cans. Aerosol is particularly dangerous because the liquid becomes airborne for a period of time and can be easily inhaled and ingested. It’s also extremely dangerous due to the fact it’s sprayed inside our homes, where our children and pets are in close quarters with these toxins.
These toxins can end up in dust particles that float around our house and from room to room. If you have small children at home who play on the floor and have poor hand-to-mouth habits, this can be a real problem.
NON TOXIC SOLUTIONS
While we can’t control pesticide use around the Country or the world, we can minimize our own use of them at our own homes. I’m willing to sacrifice a perfect lawn for the long term health of my family. I’ve found other solutions that work to create a green, beautiful lawn and replace those harmful chemicals with completely natural solutions to lawn and yard care.
Eucalyptus Oil: Mix with water in a spray container to take care of bugs and pests
Himalayan Crystal Salt: Mix with one gallon of water for spider infested plants
Peppermint Oil: Mix with water and spray around foundation to prevent ants and spiders
Vinegar: Undiluted for weeds
Baking Soda: Minimizes fungal diseases to plants, fruits and vegetables
Corn Gluten Meal: Natural weed preventer