Remember robin redbreasts as traditional harbingers of spring? Finally those overrated lawn-preening bird brains have been replaced by much more efficient rolling canisters of commercial chemical warfare. Indeed, these are the ubiquitous "four-wheeled four horsemen of our backyard apocalypse" we see galloping helter skelter through Decatur neighborhoods, advertising money-back guarantees to kill weeds and propagate lush green grass lawns to die for. Well maybe not die for, at least not immediately.

Indeed, which would parents prefer -- chemically activated lush green grass as backyard playgrounds for our kids or developmental disabled children? Thanks to the magic of modern chemistry we don't have to choose, we can have both!

Excerpted from "Lawn Care Chemicals: How Toxic are They?" as published in Eartheasy Guides and articles: "Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity and 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system. Of these same pesticides, 17 are detected in ground water, 23 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 24 are toxic to fish and other organisms vital to our ecosystem, 11 are toxic to bees, and 16 are toxic to birds. 

"Children and pets are at higher risk for health effects from exposure to pesticides than adults because their internal organs are still developing and maturing. Children are often more exposed to pesticides than are adults because they play or crawl on grass or floors where pesticide powders and granules normally settle. A recent government report states, until new guidelines for conducting exposure studies are develop, the Environmental Protection Agency will not know how much exposure is associated with lawn care pesticides and associated health risks, especially for children."

Don Carmichael, Decatur

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