CONSUMER REPORTS — Lush green lawns are BIG business, with consumers spending about $35 billion per year on lawn and garden products. Susan Rubin is an expert gardener, who is passionate about the environment. Her “lawn” is a field of wildflowers and dandelions.
“I’m trying to do everything in my power to cut my carbon footprint, so by just not
having to water my lawn, by not mowing and blowing and burning gas,” Rubin said.
Some synthetic lawn-care products may be helpful to your yard in the short term, but over time, experts say they can actually harm beneficial organisms in soil and won’t lead to a healthy ecosystem in the long run.
What’s more, Consumer Reports says research has linked many of lawn chemicals, even at low levels, to potential health problems
“You can track pesticides into your home from the lawn, where they can get
into the dust on your floor and your carpet. And then children can be exposed
to that,” said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports Health Editor.
“Several common lawn pesticides are suspected to be linked to a variety of issues like diabetes and reproductive and developmental problems, Roberts said.
And lawn chemicals don’t always stay on your lawn. Fertilizers can be a source of water pollution, sometimes sinking deep into the soil and into local waterways or groundwater.
The pesticide and fertilizer industry maintains that the EPA’s approval of existing lawn pesticides means the chemicals should be safe to use as directed on the label. But many safety advocates feel the EPA’s testing requirements are outdated.
“Standard EPA tests don’t reflect the latest in toxicological sciences. Therefore,
some significant effects of pesticides can go undetected,” said Michael Hansen PhD, Consumer Reports Scientist.
Some say a weed is just a plant growing in the wrong place. The right place could be your front yard.