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 Lawn Care

Alternative to Pesticides

  Of the 34 most commonly used lawn chemicals, 11 cause cancer, 20 nervous system poisoning, nine birth defects; and 30 skin irritation25. Roundup, a commonly used lawn-care product and weed killer is a pesticide. Despite claims that Roundup is safe, it is know to cause a variety of serious health problems.26 Exposure to Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup has been linked with an increased incidence of attention deficit disorder in children27. Most of the toxicity problems associated with Roundup, however, is not thought to stem from the active ingredient, Glyphosate, but from the unlabeled “inert” ingredients. Roundup consists of 99.04% “inert” ingredients. The EPA recently announced that it encourages manufactures to use the words “other ingredients” instead of inert because the work inert gave people a false sense of safety.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup remains active in soils long after application. Residuals of glyphoste have been found in lettuce, carrots and barley one year after treatment. It has been found to kill beneficial insects such as ladybugs28.

Tips for a Healthier, non-toxic Lawn
  • Don’t give your lawn "junk food” in the form of commercial fertilizers. While making it greener, it stresses the lawn and makes it more vulnerable to pests. 

  • Round-Up is a pesticide. Don’t use it. Use organic compost for food. Make your own compost pile with kitchen scraps. It’s fun for the kids.

  • Do not over-water. Give your lawn plenty of slow, deep watering. 

  • Do not cut grass too short. Longer, thicker grass has more surface area to take in sunlight and a deeper root system. 2 ˝ to 3 ˝ inches is best. Healthier grass will resist pests on its own, without the use of pesticides. 

  • Plants such as daises, sunflowers, marigolds, dill and fennel attract beneficial insects like praying mantis and lady bugs which eat other bugs. 

  • Weed by hand - it's good for you!

  • Safer alternatives for controlling weeds are corn gluten, hot water and vinegar, weed-whackers, and mowing.

  • Be patient. Be a trend-setter. Seek advice from a neighbor who has an organic lawn or garden. 


The Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) has a large on-line library of fact sheets on non-toxic & natural alternatives to pesticides. http://www.pesticides.org. Consider supporting them by becoming a member. NCAP publishes a quarterly newsletter free for members and a monthly newsletter by e-mail with tips.

The Bio-Integrated Resource Center, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) specialists. http://www.birc.org. (505) 524-2567.

Dr. Moses' Pesticide Education Center. http://www.pesticides.org. (415)665-4722. Dr. Marion Moses, is a physician specializing in occupational and environmental medicine with years of experience investigating and diagnosing pesticide-related illnesses. Dr. Marion’s book, Designer

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