Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why Neon Green Suburbia Lawns are Often Health Hazards

Ever wonder why birds are disappearing and so many people and pets get cancer? There's one reason right in front of you, under your feet, out there in fake lawn land, maintained by homeowners with their chemicals and landscapers with theirs and on farms: pesticides.

Just one excerpt from thousands out there on the issue:

“My sprays are real killers, all right.”
Sure, you want your lawn to be as green as Yankee Stadium’s outfield. But does your landscaper need to poison it in the process? Gloria Megee knows what harm grass-protecting pesticides can do. Several years ago, after a landscaper had sprayed pesticides on the yard of her Arlington, Va., housing development, Megee’s bichon frise, Monique, started to nibble the grass. Seconds later the dog was vomiting; she would experience seizures throughout the night. Monique eventually became riddled with skin cancer and tumors. The cause? Megee’s vet blamed it on the pesticides. “The poor dog’s paws were totally raw from walking on sprayed grass,” Megee says.

Indeed, research has linked pesticides to Parkinson’s disease, Hodgkin’s disease and liver cancer. One of the major culprits in insecticide poisoning, diazinon — once an active ingredient in Ortho and Spectracide, among many other pesticides — was so dangerous that the Environmental Protection Agency banned it from all household and gardening products in 2004. But a spiffy lawn and long-term health are not mutually exclusive.

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