Recently, there was a rally hosted by the Coalition for a Safe and
Healthy CT, at the State Capitol in Hartford. Among the participants was a couple
who were handing out a flyer. The flyer said:
Google: “Beware of the little flags on the lawn.” Murphy, our therapy dog, died last year on his 6th birthday due to second-hand pesticides and herbicides used by our neighbor.
The couple described how their beloved dog was exposed to an herbicide which their neighbor had sprayed along their fence line, to kill weeds, and how that herbicide had traveled through the air, and into their yard. When they asked their vet why their dog had gotten cancer at such a young age, the veterinarian replied, “Was your dog exposed to lawn pesticides?” This was the same question Senator Ed Meyer, co-chair of the CT Legislature’s Environment Committee was asked, by his veterinarian, when his dog died from cancer.
Would a pediatrician ask a grieving parent, who’s child was diagnosed with leukemia or non-Hodgkin' s lymphoma: “Did your child play sports on chemically treated fields?” or “Have you used toxic chemicals, such as pesticides, on your lawn to make it beautiful?” Probably not. But, numerous studies have linked the 30 commonly used lawn pesticides with serious health effects.
19 studies link these pesticides with cancer, 13 with birth defects, 21 with reproductive
problems, and 15 with neurotoxicity or abnormal brain development, 26 with liver and kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormones) system. Additional studies have linked these pesticides with hyperactivity, developmental delays, behavioral disorders and motor dysfunction. Children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are developing so quickly, their close proximity to the ground, and their smaller size and lower body weight in relation to the amount of chemicals they are exposed to. When children play hard, running fast, they are breathing deeply and more quickly, increasing the amount of toxic chemicals inhaled. When they fall on the field, their exposed skin absorbs the pesticides. These toxins go directly into the bloodstream. These toxins have been found in the blood of pregnant women, fetal cord blood, and in urine tests done on young children as well as adults.
When you walk or drive around this spring, observe all the little yellow signs displayed on the pristine lawns, and perhaps for the first time, you will ask yourself: “is it really worth it?”