Living Resources Company
- BUGS Parent Company
Providing organic horticultural services for the greater Sacramento
Are Lawn Care
Chemicals Dangerous? Here are some common questions and answers about the lawn care
products you might be using, as well as the effects they may have on your lawn, your
family, and you.
What are lawn care chemicals?
They include more than just fertilizers. Chemicals that
kill weeds, insects and a variety of diseases are sold separately and in combination with
fertilizers such as weed and feed.
Can lawn care chemicals make me or my family ill?
YES. Pesticides used in controlling weeds, insects, etc.,
are toxic. "Cide" means kill. These chemicals have been created to kill pests
and most are broad-spectrum biocides. This simply means they are poisonous to a wide
variety of living organisms, including garden plants, wildlife, pets, your neighbors, your
family and you. Inert ingredients, which may comprise 50 to 99% of a pesticide formula may
actually be more toxic than the active ingredients. The United States Environmental
Protection Agency (E.P.A.) has even allowed officially banned pesticides such as D.D.T. to
be reclassified as inert ingredients, allowing them to remain in pesticide formulas.
How can I or my family be poisoned by lawn care
Poisons are absorbed through the skin, by the mouth, or by
breathing sprays, dusts, or vapors. You or your children can be poisoned if: you apply or
are present during application of the chemical. Also if you touch contaminated grass,
shoes, clothing, lawn furniture, etc., or put contaminated objects (toys, golf tees,
blades of grass etc.) or fingers in the mouth. A recent government report states, until
new guidelines for conducting exposure studies are developed, the E.P.A. will not know how
much exposure is associated with lawn care pesticides and associated health risks,
especially for children.
Why doesn't my doctor diagnose pesticide poisoning?
Pesticide manufacturers are not required to release health
information to the medical profession. Doctors are not knowledgeable about pesticide
poisonings and often misdiagnose these symptoms as allergies, flu, or some other illness.
Doctors often state that the symptoms are psychosomatic or "all in your head."
They are also afraid of a large chemical company taking them to court over a pesticide
poisoning diagnosis - taking a toll on their time and finances.
Are lawn chemicals safe when dry?
NO. Many chemicals remain active from a month to over a
year. During this time, they can release toxic vapors. Breathing these vapors, even from
neighbors lawns or while playing on or mowing contaminated grass, can cause illness.
What are the symptoms of lawn care pesticide
They are deceptively simple and similar to those of other
illnesses. Pesticides attack the central nervous system and other vital body centers. Some
symptoms include: sore nose, tongue, or throat, burning skin or ears, rash, excessive
sweating or salivation, chest tightness, asthma-like attacks, coughing, muscle pain,
seizures, headaches, eye pain, blurred or dim vision, numbness or tingling in hands or
feet, nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, tissue swelling, anxiety, suicidal depression,
irritability, angry outbursts, disturbed sleep, learning disabilities, fatigue, dizziness,
unexplained fever, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, stroke, death. Even
without apparent symptoms, exposure may still be harmful. Long term problems include:
lower male fertility, miscarriage, birth defects, chemical sensitivity, immune
suppression, cataracts, liver and kidney dysfunction, heart disturbances, and cancer.
Is the government allowing unsafe chemicals on the
Sadly, YES. The E.P.A. makes no claims to protect us from
harmful pesticides. In fact, it is a violation of federal law to label any pesticides as
"safe", "harmless", or "non-toxic to humans or pets". The
United States Congress states, 90% of pesticides in current use lack health and safety
tests required for registration, yet they continue to be sold and used. Of the 34 most
widely used products on lawns 32 are lacking health and safety data required for
registration. Four have been identified as carcinogens.
Can lawn care chemicals contaminate my drinking
YES. Pesticides and fertilizers can and do leach into
private and public wells and water supplies. Unfortunately, there currently is no program
to monitor our drinking water for this type of contamination. Thirteen of the 18 most
widely use lawn care chemicals have been detected in ground water (e.g., 2,4-D, Sevin,
Diazinon, and RoundUp).
Are there alternatives to toxic lawn care
YES. Natural landscape maintenance programs can achieve a
healthy, pest-free landscape using the latest scientific developments in organic
agriculture and horticulture.
Who uses lawn care chemicals?
If you or your neighbor hire a conventional lawn care
company or buy any lawn products that contain any pesticides, YOU DO!