Lawn Pesticides letter to editor II

Environmental Impacts of Lawn Pesticides


Seventy million pounds of pesticides are applied each year to lawns that are also home to beneficial species such as earthworms, which actually harms lawn health. Many common lawn pesticides are toxic to fish, frogs, and other aquatic organisms. Species that live or feed on turf, such as robins, raccoons, squirrels, and bees are highly exposed to lawn chemicals. An estimated 67 million birds are lost each year to
pesticides on farmland alone. Chemical lawn and garden pesticides are a leading cause of bird mortality in New York.  Domestic pesticide use now accounts for the majority of wildlife poisonings reported to the US Environmental Protection Agency.


Chemical pesticides and fertilizers can leach into
groundwater.  Nitrate and phosphate runoff from fertilizer treatment flows into lakes and streams, causing algae blooms that use up oxygen, killing other aquatic life and ultimately impacting recreation and property values. TruGreen ChemLawn advises use of water after pesticide and fertilizer application to ensure the product migrates into the soil – the average lawn consumes about 10,000 gallons of water over and above rainfall.  Over half of urban water use in the California goes to watering lawns.

Frequent application of pesticides can create resistance in pest species, requiring even more concentrated and frequent applications and
ultimately creating a chemical-dependent lawn.

What can you do to reduce lawn pesticides?
Take the Pledge!

Go to and
tell TruGreen-ChemLawn, the country's largest lawn pesticide applicator, to protect our health and the environment!

Lawn Pesticides and your Health

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a study of 9,282
people nationwide, found pesticides in 100% of the people who had both blood and urine tested. The average person carried 13 of 23 pesticides

Some common lawn pesticides and their effects on human health:

  • Organophosphate poisoning symptoms include excessive sweating, salivation and lachrimation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramp, general weakness, headache, poor concentration and tremors. In serious cases, respiratory failure and death can occur.
  • Carbamate poisoning symptoms include excessive urination, nausea, vomiting,
    muscle spasms, convulsions, and in severe cases respiratory failure.  Carbamates are possible carcinogens according to U.S.
    Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).
  • Phenoxy and benzoic acid herbicides like 2,4 D, MCPP, and MCPA affect the
    central nervous system. Acute symptoms of exposure include involuntary twitching, loss of sensation, vomiting, abdominal pains, diarrhea, weakness, fatigue,
    dermatitis, and aching muscles. Chronic symptoms of exposure include reproductive effects, birth defects, cancer of soft tissues, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and negative effects on the liver and kidneys.
  • Pyrethroids are rated as possible carcinogens according to the USEPA
    and affect the central and peripheral nervous systems. Poisoning symptoms
    include asthma-like reactions, sneezing, headache, nausea, lack of coordination,
    convulsions, tremors, facial flushing and swelling, and burning and itching sensations
  • Organochlorines are a chemical class that includes other well-known toxic compounds, such as PCBs, tetrachloroethylene, aldrin,
    chloroform, DDT, dieldrin, and heptachlor. Immediate and long-term effects
    include, but are not limited to convulsions, nausea, hypertension, cancer, central
    nervous system damage, lung damage, and anemia. Organochlorides are suspected
    teratogens and mutagens. Organochlorines are very persistent in the environment and
    they bioaccumulate in plants and animal tissues.

What can you do to reduce lawn pesticides? Take the Pledge!

Go to and tell TruGreen-ChemLawn, the country's largest lawn pesticide applicator, to protect our health and the environment!

James Little
Endicott, NY 13760

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