Spring is on its way, and for many people, that means that it’s lawn care season. For people who are serious about their lawns, selecting pesticides can be a difficult business. Pesticides are associated with many dangers of many varieties, and for consumers without formal training in toxicology, it can be tricky to decipher labels and figure out exactly which chemicals are as scary as their names sound.
Luckily, many experts on the subject are more than happy to discuss the safety risks (and benefits) of different pesticides, and the enterprising lawn care lover can find plenty of good information online regarding pesticide issues. Here’s some basic information about pesticides and what everyone should know about them.
Costs to the Environment
Pesticides can pose huge risks to the environment. Ever since the publication of Silent Spring, most members of the public have been aware that pesticide use can have negative consequences on our planet. Pesticides are designed to kill, after all, and chemicals that kill one organism aren’t likely to be good for other organisms with which they interact.
The problem with killing any species is that it will likely have unforeseen impacts. Ecosystems are more complex than most people realize, and killing off a creature have longer term consequences than chemical manufacturers are willing to admit. Species diversity is an essential element of most any ecosystem, and even small disruptions can lead to big problems.
Costs to Your Family’s Health
Pesticides can have nasty effects on the human body, too. Again, pesticides are designed to kill. You wouldn’t want to spread many of these substances across your morning toast, and you won’t want to breathe them into your lungs on a warm spring morning. Don’t neglect your family’s health, or the health of your neighbors; the long-term medical costs will not be worth the minutes you save caring for your grass.
Pesticide use poses risks to all members of your family, no matter the age. Prolonged pesticide exposure has been associated in studies with both Parkinson’s Disease in the elderly and with a myriad of developmental problems in the young. Whether you’re a still-developing nuclear family with small children, or a retired couple looking to live out your years in peace, you should be aware of the dangers to your health presented by pesticides.
Costs to Your Pet’s Health
Unfortunately, pets can’t read. Your family’s chocolate labrador won’t be able to avoid lawns saturated with harsh insect killer unless you physically prevent her from doing so. Pets are among the populations most vulnerable to pesticide hazards, and are liable to simply dig
straight into pesticide-rich soil, or even bottles of chemical themselves, and poison themselves. Do your research and avoid this sad hazard.
Costs to Your Lawn’s Health
Here’s the ultimate irony of pesticide use on lawns: they’re not even good for your lawns, the one thing they’ve been designed to do. Sure, pesticides may give you some control over the patterns in which your grass grows, but grasses have evolved over the millennia in ways that are necessarily designed to please 1950s American aesthetics. A growing number of young people have jettisoned the idea of the buzzcut lawn, preferring the untamed, shaggy style that nature intended.