We hear a lot about the excessive use of pesticides on farms, but not all that much about their scandalous overuse in our homes and gardens in the USA. Beyond Pesticides, an organization based in D.C., has reported that some 78 million U.S. households use around 90 million pounds of herbicides each year. That’s about 9% of the total herbicide use in the country.
Homes use more poisons than farms
What’s most amazing is their report that pesticide use on lawns and gardens in subdivisions is actually higher than in agriculture, with 3.2 to 9.8 pounds per acre, while the agricultural sector averages 2.7 pounds an acre. Farmers are restricted by more regulations and obviously want to avoid increasing their expenses by applying excessive amounts.
Disease threats from poisons
The report also lists a number of other problems, noting that of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides 13 are probable or possible carcinogens; 13 are linked with birth defects; 21 with reproductive effects; 15 with neurotoxicity; 26 with liver or kidney damage, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine system. And when they are sprayed inside a house exposure is magnified, sometimes exposing children at unsafe levels.
One fairly alarming study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds home and garden pesticide use can increase the risk of childhood leukemia by almost seven times. Other frightening studies have shown that low levels of exposure to lawn pesticide products are linked to increased rates of miscarriage, and suppression of the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. And the steep increase in asthma may also be linked to the use of pesticides in the home and garden.
For more about pesticide hazards and how to avoid them by using safer products, visit Beyond Pesticides at https://www.beyondpesticides.org/resources/garden-pesticides
Next: More about our sea of legal poisons.