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My Turn: Would you trade your health for a green lawn

Did you know that suburban lawns and gardens use more chemicals per acre than industrial agriculture?

As the Environmental Protection Agency states, by their very nature pesticides create risks to living beings and the environment because they are designed to kill or adversely affect living organisms. This ominous statement is certainly at odds with the happy commercials promising greener lawns, high-yielding fruit trees or picture-perfect backyard gardens.

In fact, there are 30 lawn pesticides in use today, 13 of which are possible or probable cancer-causing agents linked to birth defects, liver, kidney damage, endocrine disrupters, etc., according to the group Beyond Pesticides, a national advocacy group for the elimination of pesticides.

Children are always the most vulnerable; exposure to herbicides causes increased incidence of asthma and leukemia. Dogs and cats are in great danger on pesticide-laced land as they directly ingest the chemicals by licking and using their noses to explore. So many canines and felines succumb to malignant lymphoma and bladder cancer, whose origins are unknown until you realize the same animals repeatedly frolicked on treated lawns and gardens.

Is a bright-green lawn and pristine garden really worth the increased chance of contracting leukemia and lymphoma, not to mention the ensuing allergies, asthma, depression and fertility issues? I personally cringe when on my daily walk my nose is assaulted by freshly applied lawn chemicals.

What a lot of people have heard about organic lawn and garden care is that it is prohibitively expensive and that it doesn’t work. Neither is true anymore. Organic lawn care is not just done on a whim – it is truly science-based and as a result it is affordable and doable.

Whether you want to switch to organic in your own back yard or rally your entire community,

Change starts with the novel idea that humans can live with and alongside the natural world without attempting to conquer and destroy it. Who would have thought?

(Barbara Bonsignore lives in Concord.)

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