Often we react to seeing weeds or pests by immediately applying chemicals, or even apply chemicals as prevention.
Exposure to pesticides has been linked to a long list of diseases and health problems: Parkinson’s, infertility, cancer, birth defects, encephalitis, and lymphoma, just to name a few. Another problem is that the law does not require companies to test lawn pesticides with the same standards as pesticides used on commercially-grown food. Many of these contact hidden “inert ingredients” that have never been tested for possible harm. The Center for Disease Control has documented cases of farmworker illness after exposure to pesticides.
In addition to the harm they can do to us humans, pesticides contaminate the air, water, soil, plants, and animals around us. For example, many studies have proven that pesticides harm honeybees, butterflies, ladybugs (which eat lots of other pests), and fish, and that lawn chemicals seep into the water table.
Besides that, they can be expensive!
Learning to combat pests without chemicals is a great way to help your health and that of your neighbors and the environment.
An important thing to consider is that healthy organic soil is an easy way to reduce pests in the first place. Plants tend to thrive in an organically rich environment, which helps them fight off pests on their own. If you don’t already have one or more compost bins for composting at home, get one. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a compost pail to keep near the kitchen sink to collect vegetable scraps conveniently.
Orange Guard is a non-toxic organically approved bug killer. The active ingredient d-Limonene (orange peel extract) destroys the wax coating of the insect’s respiratory system. When applied directly, the insect suffocates.
This organic insect killer and repellent for your lawn and garden that attaches to a water hose for easy application. It kills and repels bugs.
An organic, non-toxic killer for the natural control of Japanese Beetle grubs.
Links to more information about pesticides and what you can do to avoid them.
- Beyond Pesticides – Fact sheets about specific chemicals and what to do in a pesticide emergency. “Least Toxic” solutions for common household and garden pests.
- Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides – News on pesticide-related issues and healthy solutions to pest problems.
- Pesticide Action Network Pesticide Database – A database of pesticide toxicity and regulatory information. Reference section provides general information about pesticides and their health effects.
- Food News – Offers a downloadable wallet card to help you choose produce that lowers your exposure.