Which lawn looks better to you?
The lawn on the left is almost entirely grass and it’s a uniform shade of green.
Many would prefer it to the lawn on the right, which has plants of many species, only some of them grass, has lots of brown patches, and is generally scraggly looking.
Yet the lawn on the left can only exist by torturing the soil with loads of chemical herbicides and pesticides.
Homeowners apply 100 million pounds of this stuff to their lawns every year. The amount spread on lawns can be 5-10 times as much per acre as is used in agriculture. That’s because farmers are smart – they’re not going to waste money on toxic chemicals they don’t need. But the same smarts don’t apply to the average suburban homeowner. Or the people who maintain parks or golf courses.
Not only are the amounts excessive: many of the chemicals used haven’t been tested for toxicity. And what’s worse, you don’t even know what you’re spreading on your lawn because many of the ingredients can legally be listed on the package only as unspecified “inert ingredients.” These “inert” ingredients aren’t actually inert – they can be many times more toxic than the listed ingredients.
There’s huge damage to the environment. In order to have a broad spectrum effect – killing many species of weeds, for instance – these products are formulated to attack many different metabolic targets in biochemical systems. It follows inevitably that they’ll cause havoc to birds, reptiles, insects, and mammals, including humans.
They get into drinking water and affect indoor air quality too. In fact, one hundred percent of those people tested by the CDC had detectable levels of herbicides or pesticides stored in their body tissues. On average, each person was harboring traces of 13 different toxic chemicals out of 23 tested.
We need to develop a new aesthetic and see the lawn on the left not as a beautiful green pasture but for what it truly is: an environmental catastrophe.
In the meantime, you have to be aware of the possible negative role that chemical exposure may be playing in your health.
I offer patients a simple urine test to measure your level of toxic exposure. Then I correlate the test results with your symptomatic picture to get a more complete picture of the ways chemical toxicity is having a health effect on your body.
The test is Great Plains Laboratory’s GPL-Tox Profile. Here’s more information from the laboratory.