Paul Goettlich 16sep01
Lawncare industry come-on photos like this give the impression that:1. Chemical lawn treatments are safe for children and animals
2. Your lawn must be this color or people will think you're a bum.
3. It's good for the lawn.
4. Lawns need these chemicals to be healthy.
Why does my lawn need lawncare products?
The reason your lawn and soil are stressed in the first place is probably because of the these very chemicals, or the way you maintain it. If done as recommended by typical lawncare companies, the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers they use will make your yard into a place devoid of all life except for that oh-so-green lawn, which can't survive without the highly toxic chemicals they spray or spread on it. The lack of worms and other beneficial organisms in the soil mean an unhealthy soil, dictating that anything in it will not thrive without large doses of toxic chemicals.
The more pesticides applied, the more pests you'll have. Pesticides kill only the weak pests. The strong ones survive and multiply, creating an even stronger and more pesticide-resistant colony of pests. Subsequent applications must more toxic and more frequent, until that particular pesticide doesn't have any effect other than to make your family ill.
Don't take it personally, it's only business
Slick brochures from lawncare companies and pesticide manufacturers are meant to play games with your mind. While it may be a common scene in the US, the image above of happy, playful children doesn't tell the whole story. It lacks the truth about the destruction of the beneficial insects, the soil's water absorption capability, the health of the lawn itself, and most importantly, the health of your precious family and pets. It doesn't tell you of the long-term health effects that may not be evident until after your child reaches puberty or even later. Nor does it mention the fact that these poisons are passed on to future generations of both your family and the natural life in and around your home.
Why is it they show children playing peacefully on the grass drenched in
Lawncare companies and pesticide manufacturers are brainwashing you into believing that the poison doesn't harm children? Quite the contrary, it does harm them. Children are at higher risk than adults. Because of their size, they absorb more toxins by weight. The fruits and vegetables most consumed by children contain detectable residues 1 of multiple pesticides. And yet the standards for pesticides are written with a full-grown 160 pound adult male in mind. And they are not tested as one purchases them. The active ingredients are tested without the inert ingredients, which can be up to 99% of the total volume of the pesticide. Pesticide levels in house dust collected from carpeting can be higher than in the soil 2 of your yard.
Perhaps lawn chemicals are one of the reasons that children are having so many behavioral problems 3. And perhaps it is also why children are experiencing increasingly higher rates of cancers 4 as the years pass. Children exposed to pesticides are at increased risk 5 of leukemia, neuroblastoma, Wilms' tumor, soft-tissue sarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, and cancers of the brain, colorectum, and testes. They have a seven-fold increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.6 Don't ever delude yourself into thinking that the regulations or government are protecting you, your precious children, and your pets from pesticides or other synthetic chemicals being applied to your lawn or house or your neighbor's property.
Contamination of well water
If your water comes from a well, know that pesticides can and do travel down to the water table where they can be drawn into your well system. Groundwater moves vertically and horizontally in response to gravity and hydraulic pressure. Groundwater flow rates can vary between several feet per year to one or two feet per day or more in permeable sand and gravel aquifers. The withdrawal of water through wells would directly influence that movement in the vicinity of the well intake. Because of the slow rate of degradation of substances in groundwater, contamination at one location may show up years later in a different location. The to know if your water is polluted is to have it tested by a professional. Testing can be quite expensive, and if you don't know what to look for, you could spend a substantial amount of money without finding any definitive answer. There are general tests that can be performed, however, to know specifically what is in the water, you must have some idea of what to test for before proceeding. There are more than 85,000 chemicals on the market today and 60,000 pesticides. You can't test for all unless you've got the deep pockets of a Bill Gates.
When a pesticide is tested to see if it is a problem with ground water, many times it is done by the pesticide manufacturers themselves. Then the data is given to EPA when and if they feel like it.7
Fraud and Mismanagement are Common Occurrences
· S.C. Johnson Illegally Distributes Unsafe Pesticides Fined $950,000 8
· JT Eaton Fakes Pesticide Test Results Could Cost 5 Years and $500,000 9
· DuPont Ordered to Pay Damages Of $78.3 Million in Benlate Case 10
· Monsanto Covered-up and Falsified Health Studies 11
· Terminix aka Terminex has an extensive lawsuits across the nation 12
It's TOO GREEN!
Fujicolor green isn't what God intended for the stuff in the first place. Nor did he intend for it to be manicured to within a micron of its life. If you must have a lawn, please do it in a more sustainable manner. 13
GUARANTEED! to Kill
Pesticides are the result of Adolph Hitler's WWII quest to kill the enemy... slowly. His reason for killing slowly was that if a soldier was made deathly ill for a few days before dying, rather than being immediately killed, he would require help from others, thus taking more than one soldier out of action. These same chemicals have been used by lawncare companies for years.
It's time to give your lawn the fall treatment it
The TooGreen ChemicaLawn companies will destroy not only your lawn, but the soil, beneficial organisms, plant diversity, and your family's health.
Scientific and Professional Sounding Advertising
Millions of dollars are paid for slick advertising and jingles. Produced by extremely well-trained professionals, the advertising agencies spend a great deal of time researching the target audience in order to penetrate deep into their minds. A large percentage of the cost of producing these lawncare products is in advertising and marketing.
So don't be fooled for a moment by words like vital, nutrients, lush, root growth, stronger, better, survive, rewarded, vibrant, luxurious lawn, science and art of lawn care, America's largest, most experienced, better equipped, exact, customized care, specialists, highly trained professionals, specialists, expertise, technical managers and research scientists, solve problems. There is nothing scientific about the statements they make or the products they sell. Don't take it too personally, they just want to sell chemicals, and you have the money they want. On the other hand, you should take it quite personally, because a lot more is at stake than your money.
The TooGreen ChemicaLawn
Guarantee of Nothing
There is absolutely NO guarantee of safety. If they ever make that claim, they are breaking the law. There is no reason why one should expect pesticides or lawncare chemicals to be safe. Never forget that pesticides are supposed to kill. The problem is that they kill everything except what they are supposed to kill.
One last word of caution
Don't ever listen to them when they tell you that some pesticides or herbicides are less toxic than others. While the concept may be true, it really doesn't matter that one is more or less toxic than another. There are other aspects that come into play.
- Synergy - Interactions between the individual chemicals that make up a particular pesticide, other pesticides or chemicals and/or the pesticide being applied can multiply the toxicity by many thousands of times.14 The chemicals that plastics are made of can also have a synergy with many lawncare products. There are many commonalities in the chemical makeup of plastics and pesticides.
- Low Dose Toxicity and Endocrine Disruptors has thrown older toxicologists and chemical manufacturers for a loop. They used to, and still do quote the myth that "the dose makes the poison," or in other words, the higher the dose, the greater the toxicity.15
Don't bother with "Least Toxic" Pesticides
...it's not worth the time to find one because of low-dose toxicity. The latest myth to be circulated by the pesticide industry is that Roundup is "as safe as table salt." The myth was started with Monsanto advertising, which didn't cease until the Attorney General of the State of New York successfully sued them to do so. As part of the agreement, Monsanto agreed to stop using the terms "bio-degradable" and "environmentally friendly" in all advertising in New York State and paid $50,000 US toward the state's court costs saying it settled only to avoid costly litigation but remained faithful to its original claims. It is quite far from being the benign chemical it's made out to be. It's been linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma and interfering with the normal creation of steroids, meaning it's an endocrine disruptor.
Schools Get Drenched in Pesticides . . . but nobody knows how much! 16
Instead of adding chemicals that will only bring death, add life to your soil and the results will be far better. Lawns are not the best cover in the first place. But if you must have grass, try a more Sustainable Lawn Care. 13
A Short Word on Natural Yards
If you want a break from the lawnmower, take a a lesson from history. Research what the land around you looked like before the houses were built, and before farmers cleared the land. Soil types, chemistry, irrigation, sun, and wind can vary within a few feet. The conditions are extremely important to know before you spend hard-earned money on indigenous plantings. A tree or plant placed in the wrong soil will not prosper, and could ultimately perish.
You can do the work yourself or hire a contractor. If hiring a contractor, be sure to investigate whether they have done work with indigenous plantings and natural, non-synthetic chemical soil amendments. Ask for references and take a look at the work they did.
Going the natural route will bring you the contentment of knowing you're not being taken for a ride by the TooGreen ChemicaLawn type companies. You'll be able to park that horribly noisy mower for the last time, and enjoy the outdoors in greater peace. The lack of highly toxic synthetic chemicals in your life will bring greater peace of mind, in that you won't be worrying about your family's health. The beneficial organisms will return to the soil and all will be healthier. It's not a fairy tale!
The most effective
and method of pest management is NO
Help Spread the word of
1. Pesticide Residues on Fruits and Vegetables Heavily Consumed by Young Children. Supermarket warehouse data, 1990-1992. Philip J. Landrigan, et al Environmental Health Perspectives v.107, Supp.3 Jun99
2. Pesticide Levels in House Dust Higher Than in Soil. Pesticide & Toxic Chemical News 24apr91
3. Guillette EA, et al. An Anthropological Approach to the Evaluation of Preschool Children Exposed to Pesticides in Mexico. Environmental Health Perspectives - V.106, N.6 - Jun98
4. National Cancer Institute, SEER Program. Cancer Incidence and Survival among Children and Adolescents: United States SEER Program 1975-1995. NIH Pub. No. 99-4649. Bethesda, MD, 1999
5. Zahm SH, and Ward MH. Pesticides and Childhood Cancer. Environmental Health Perspectives 106, Supp.3, Jun98
6. Buckley JD. Pesticide exposures in children with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Cancer v.89, i11, 6dec00
7. Fagan D, Lavelle M, and the Center for Public Integrity. Toxic Deception: How the Chemical Industry Manipulates Science, Bends the Law, and Endangers Your Health. Birch Lane Publishing Group 1996
8. State of NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Erin M. Crotty. S.C. Johnson Fined $950,000 for Illegally Distributing Unsafe Roach Baits Largest Pesticide Penalty in NY State History Press Release 22aug01
9. Pesticide Manufacturer JT Eaton Fakes Pesticide Test Results Press Advisory 13aug01
10. Geyelin M. DuPont Ordered to Pay Damages Of $78.3 Million in Benlate Case. Wall Street Journal 13aug01
11. US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Monsanto Corporation Criminal Investigation Cover-up of Dioxin Contamination in Products Falsification of Dioxin Health Studies. EPA Memorandum 15nov90.
12. Collection of newspaper excerpts and lawsuits against Terminix aka Terminex between 1992-2000.
13. Goettlich P. Sustainable Lawn Care. Fall 1998
14. Abou-Donia MB. Synergistic Effects of Chemicals in the Nervous System. Lecture at CIIN MCS Conference Lecture 27aug01
15. Goettlich P. What Are Endocrine Disruptors? rev.16sep01
16. United States General Accounting Office. Pesticides: Use, Effects, and Alternatives to Pesticides in Schools. GAO Report to the Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate GAO/RCED-00-17 29nov99
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