5 ways to help reduce local pesticide use this spring

babyplayinginorganiclawn.jpgIt’s spring ... and as you drive or walk around, you’re likely seeing those little yellow flags that indicate toxic pesticides or herbicides have just been sprayed. Even if you don’t see the ironically festive-looking little banners, spraying could have been done recently in your neighborhood, as homeowners aren’t required to post notice and lawn companies generally post them for just one day, though toxic chemicals can linger for weeks.

There’s nothing a young child—or pet—likes better than romping on a fresh green lawn. If you’d like to ensure you and your loved ones are exposed to fewer chemicals this spring, consider the following tips. (And for a complete guide to growing an earth-friendly lawn, read our article.)

* Don’t spray your yard. Just because chemicals like Round-Up are readily available doesn’t mean they’re safe. Round-Up has been tied to many illnesses and to pet cancer. There are some great nontoxic alternatives, including water and vinegar applied during midday heat. And the bottom line is that a few weeds won’t hurt you—not so clear with pesticide use.

• Talk to your neighbors. Offer information about alternatives and offer to support their efforts in trying them out.

Don’t let your kids (especially babies) or pets play in areas that have been sprayed within the past few weeks. This includes parks and other civic areas, which are commonly and frequently sprayed. To get more information, contact your local parks administration.

Take off your shoes when you go inside. Chemicals stick to the soles of shoes and are tracked inside.

Talk to your employer, day care, or neighborhood association to see if and when they’re spraying, and what they are using. Encourage them to explore alternatives.

If you know spraying is happening, leave the area during that time. Keep doors and windows shut.

For more recent research and news on toxic chemicals, read my recent blog on avoiding toxins.

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