More Communities, Public Agencies Fighting Pesticide Use

November 28, 2010

Public agencies, homeowner associations and local and state governments from coastal Maine to North Carolina to Alaska are increasingly restricting the use of lawn chemicals to protect drinking water supplies, streams and rivers.

It’s a concern that environmentally safe NewGrass artificial grass removes completely, because it requires no fertilizers and it nearly eliminates the need for pesticides.
“It’s just common sense, that if you’re concerned about protecting your groundwater, streams and lakes – and protecting your children’s health – you’ll at least reduce if not eliminate the use of many kinds of chemical pesticides and fertilizers,” said Greg Goehner, president of NewGrass. “NewGrass gives you the opportunity to get rid of those chemicals and still have a green lawn to enjoy year-round.”

Several coastal towns in Maine have adopted restrictions on lawn chemicals. Other restrictions have been enacted by New York State Parks, Chicago City Parks, 29 communities and townships in New Jersey, at least 17 cities in the Northwest covering more than 50 parks and communities throughout Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut, according to various news reports and consumer awareness Web sites.

• In July, the city of Anchorage canceled plans to spray the herbicides 2, 4-D and dicamba on the Town Square Park, citing concerns over the safety of children playing in the park.

• In June, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation initiated the “Be Green Organic Yard NY,” a program in which participating businesses agree to avoid synthetic pesticides.

• In May, a 9-year-old environmental activist in Boulder, Colo., organized about two dozen children to protest the potential use of herbicides in front of the Boulder County Courthouse, after an advisory committee had approved two new herbicides for use on city parks.

• The City of Redmond, Wash., in its Annual Report on Your Drinking Water, earlier this year urged residents to use organic fertilizers and to “think twice before using pesticides.

“Overuse of chemical pesticides and fertilizers can damage beneficial soil life and wash off into streams, lakes or our aquifer, where it can harm plants or animals or someday show up in the water supply,” the Redmond report says.

Based on extensive and documented research into 30 of the most commonly used lawn pesticides by the public interest organization Beyond Pesticides, 14 are probable or possible carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, and 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants.

“The most popular and widely used lawn chemical 2,4-D, which kills broad leaf weeds like dandelions, is an endocrine disruptor with predicted human health risks ranging from changes in estrogen and testosterone levels, thyroid problems, prostate cancer and reproductive abnormalities. 2,4-D has also been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” the organization reports.

Other lawn chemicals like glyphosate (RoundUp) have also been linked to serious adverse chronic effects in humans. Imidacloprid, another pesticide growing in popularity, has been implicated in bee toxicity and the recent Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) phenomena, according to Beyond Pesticides.

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