How safe is your lawn?
78 million households in the United States use home and garden pesticides to treat their lawns. However, doctors are concerned about the lasting effects that long term exposure to these chemicals may have on individuals.
Joe Holland has been in the lawn care business for over 30 years, which requires him to be around a variety of chemicals all the time.
Herbicides and insecticides, designed to kill invasive plants and ward off bugs like mosquitoes, are the chemicals Holland’s workers use.
Wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants are part of the precautionary measures Holland takes, and tells his workers to take while working with these chemicals.
What Are Doctors Saying?
According to a Beyond Pesticide fact sheet, of the 30 most commonly used pesticides about 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 linked to reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the hormonal system.
Dr. Phil Landrigan, professor of pediatrics at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, studies the effects of chemical exposure on humans, particularly children and pregnant women.
Landrigan believes that since pesticides have been around for so long it gives a false sense of security to people.
“There is a concern that pesticides of all kinds can damage the developing nervous system and can result in learning disabilities in children, behavioral problems and possibly chronic diseases like Parkinson’s,” Landrigan said.
He recently presented his findings at a congressional briefing on the health risks of over exposure in late July, and insists some pesticides like DDT, which is now banned, can stay in the human body for years, even decades.
Pesticides Pose No Risk?
On the contrary, according to Dr. Josh Bloom, of the American Council of Science and Health, these chemicals have been around the U.S for at least 60 years and pose no risk.
Dr. Bloom says “There are so many hundreds of things more dangerous in everyday life than this that it is not even worth thinking about.”
Contradictory to what Dr. Bloom believes, studies all over show that exposure to pesticides can lead to health related issues.
According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, home and garden pesticide use can increase the risk of childhood leukemia by almost seven times.
What’s more is humans aren’t the only ones being effected either. Studies also find that dogs exposed to herbicide treated lawns and gardens can double their chance of developing canine lymphoma and may increase the risk of bladder cancer in certain breeds by four to seven times.
Still think pesticides pose no risk?