I‘ve just hired a new pest control company that uses only “green” pest control products including botanicals to fend off insects. In fact the company I hired only uses these non-toxic pest control products as a result of recent legislation in my state that has required a reduction in pesticide use around schools and hospitals (hmmm I wonder why?…perhaps because these pesticides are not as benign as they would like us to believe!).
The Organic Report highlights the following on their website:
- Pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s: Recent findings published in the BMC Neurology Journal found that of 600 people studied, those exposed to pesticides had a 1.6 times greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than those who were not. Those who made “heavy use” of pesticides, or who were exposed to them more than 200 days in the course of their lifetime, were found to have over twice the level of risk, suggesting that “there is very strong evidence” linking pesticide use and Parkinson’s disease, according to lead researcher Dana Hancock.
- Pesticide exposure during pregnancy: A study published in the April 2008 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives found that the sons of women exposed at work to pesticides during pregnancy suffered impaired reproductive development. Specifically, the sons were found to have reduced penile length, testicular volume, and abnormal concentrations of various reproductive hormones. The study also found that female workers who were exposed to pesticides on the job were three times more likely to give birth to sons with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both testes are absent from the scrotum, than non-exposed female workers.
- Children at risk in agricultural areas: According to findings published in the April 2008 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, children living in regions of intense agricultural activity in the United States face a higher risk of many types of childhood cancer. The risk was found to be highest among children living in counties having 60 percent or more of their total acreage dedicated to farming. The study also revealed that the incidence of certain types of cancer varied by crop type, suggesting a link between cancer type and the use of crop-specific pesticides.
Beyond Pesticides, a website devoted to educating consumers on safer methods of controlling bugs and pests in and around the home, offers guides to the least toxic control methods, broken down by pest.
Additionally, we’ve stopped using lawn fertilizer and chemical herbicides and instead, we’re using green methods for lawn care in an effort to protect the health of our family and reduce toxic runoff that could potentially enter the local water supply. In fact, 80 cities in North America have already banned the use of lawn pesticides and for good reason! These chemical herbicides and fertilizers are linked to childhood cancers and can change aggression levels, learning abilities, hormone levels and immune function in rats and mice Instead we’re implementing environmentally friendly lawn care practices. A guide for environmentally friendly, non-toxic lawn care methods can be found at Healthy Child, Healthy World.
Some of the things we’re implementing are:
- Worms! – worms aerate, de-thatch and condition the soil, thereby encouraging healthy grass growth.
- Bat Box – bats are known mosquito predators and on bat can consume as many as 600 mosquitoes an hour!
What green methods have you found most effective for combating pests and maintaining your yard? Please share by leaving a comment!
This is part of the Healthy Child Blog Carnival – an effort by Healthy Child Healthy World to help inspire a movement to protect children from harmful chemicals. Check out a few of the other featured bloggers writing about greener methods outside the home:
I am Not the Master of My Backyard
Making Changes to Protect my Children Outdoors: The Grass IS Greener on My Side
Clean Food and Dirty Kids
Moments, or How to Relax and Let the Kids Have (non-toxic) Fun
Shoes Off at the Door Please