American lawns cover more than an estimated 30 million acres, and there are over 200 pesticides approved and available for yard care. 75 percent of American households use pesticides, and, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, “Homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on their crops.” Of 103.9 million households with lawns, more than half use insecticides; 40 million use herbicides and 14 million use fungicides. (CSM) These numbers add up. The EPA’s latest public figures from 2001 estimate US homeowners bought 102 million pounds of the active ingredients used in pesticides for lawn and garden, at a cost of over $2 billion, while every year $5 billion is spent on fossil-fuel-derived fertilizers. All told, Americans spent over $38 billion on lawn care in 2003. And yet, many of the conventional pesticides used on lawns pose threats to human health and wildlife, killing more birds than West Nile virus and resulting in the accidental poisonings of children.
The good news is that there are many safer alternatives. Several least-toxic remedies can be made from everyday household ingredients or bought commercially. But it’s not just the products that need to be replaced. Our lawn-care and gardening habits and practices will determine the effectiveness of any alternative pesticide or fertilizer. Organizations like the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Land Care Committee have developed new standards for organic land care and are actively educating homeowners and establishing an organic protocol for the industry. The National Wildlife Federation and the National Audubon Society are spearheading campaigns to change the way Americans think about lawn care. Even pesticide and fertilizer giant Scotts is developing a line of organic lawn-care products. MORE >>>
- Poison In The Grass: The Hazards And Consequences Of Lawn Pesticides Poison In The Grass: The Hazards And Consequences Of Lawn...