Rockets and Pesticides: What do they have in common? Both are designed to kill. They each represent technology ahead of common sense. Each should be used reluctantly and when necessary, minimally. Instead, the global norm is to readily launch rockets to destroy homes and kill people, and to use immense quantities (one billion pounds a year in the U.S.) of toxic pesticides as a first strike against weeds and insects.
Let’s look at two dangerous cases, then how you can do thing differently – safely – around your home.
The Beyond Pesticide organization described hazardous pesticides commonly used in the home and garden. Avoid them!
“Over 70 different products contain the highly toxic herbicide 2,4-D. Chlorpyrifos is a widely used herbicide that affects the central nervous system and cardiovascular systems, and has been linked to thousands of poisoning incidents. In the year 2000 EPA pressured Dow to stop the sale of chlorpyrifos because of health risks to children (who play on lawns), but Dow still markets Dursban, which contains chlorpyrifos, for home use and on golf course greens.Clopyralid and Triclopyr are two deadly herbicides that EPA has identified as causing substantial reproductive problems. These substances are in Dow AgroSciences’ products Confront, Lontrel, Turflon, and Transline. Atrazine is an endocrine disruptor and the second most commonly used agricultural pesticide in the U.S., and is an ingredient in weed killers for use on lawns. If you have to use a pesticide around your home, read the labels and pick one that does not contain any of the above.
Do you have pets? Many pet products for killing fleas and ticks contain chemicals that may be carcinogenic. A study of French children diagnosed with leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2003-2004 suggests that a child has about twice the risk of developing either of these devastating diseases if his or her mother used insecticides in the home while pregnant. Pet owners should avoid organophosphate-based products, for example, products that list chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon, or malathion as active ingredients.
Some ways you can minimize exposure to pesticides around the home:
- Do not spray into the house air to kill mosquitoes or flies.
- Minimize the use of herbicides and fungicides and insecticides in the yard and garden. If you hire people to do your gardening work, insist that they only use pesticides that you’ve approved.
- Whenever possible, buy organic fruits and vegetables.
- Buy produce that has the least pesticide residue.
- If your home is downwind from large conventional farming, work with others to persuade the farmers to use less pesticide or less toxic pesticides.
- Insist on least-toxic pest management in your children’s schools.
- Take off shoes at the doorway to keep from tracking in pesticides.