Pesticide-based repellents and lawn treatments are both becoming things of the past as alternative products have surfaced that are every bit as effective as their chemical cousins, lacking only the negative side effects.
Are you wondering how chemical pesticides may affect our lives? We have summarized some of their potentially harmful effects on the environment, our health and our home.
Studies have shown that chemical pesticides linger in the atmosphere, the ground and in our waterways long after they have ceased to be used in a given area. Almost 100 years of chemicals placed on fields across the world all add up to quite a bit of lingering pollution!
Pesticide transfer is a major way in which chemicals cause collateral damage beyond their intended use. For example, the Pesticides and the Environment, Agricultural MU Guide explains that "for certain pesticides to be effective, they must move within the soil…too much movement can move a pesticide away from the target pest. This can lead to reduced pest control, contamination of surface water and groundwater and injury of non-target species, including humans." Pesticides always end up traveling outside of their intended area of use - by air, soil or by water.
Organic products do not eliminate the travel aspect of repellents, but, by nature, their less harmful composition minimizes the harm done by the voyage. Food-based organic repellents (e.g. putrescent eggs, capsaicin) are big steps in the right direction towards reducing potentially harmful chemical pesticides from the marketplace and ultimately from our food.
Effects On Soil
Once farmers went to widespread the use of chemical pesticides across the world, a drastic change in soil health followed. "‘The United States government estimates that levels of trace minerals in fruit and vegetables fell by up to 76% between 1940 and 1991" says Cleeton. The depleted nutritional value of our soil is tied directly to widespread increased exposure to pesticides.
Our non-organic foods sport a lot more than depleted nutritional value these days. Research has consistently found pesticide residues in a third of food, including residues of more than one chemical in apples, baby food, bread, cereal bars, fresh salmon, lemons, lettuces, peaches, nectarines, potatoes and strawberries. If it can be said that these chemicals are "‘meant" for the ground or for insects, they certainly are not meant to enter our bodies-especially since pesticides are designed to kill living organisms.
Going organic allows one to start from scratch with the soil. Decreasing soil chemical contamination creates an overall "return to nature", bringing back nutrients, helpful organisms and yielding clean, unaltered produce, grown by you, in your own healthy, organic garden.
Pesticides have been linked to a myriad of diseases. The Pesticides Literature Review , based on studies conducted by a multi-university research team in Toronto concludes that "people should reduce their exposure to pesticides because of links to serious illnesses. Results of this study found consistent evidence of serious health risks such as cancer, nervous system diseases and reproductive problems in people exposed to pesticides…through home and garden exposure."
Similar research conducted has cited increased presence of neurological disorders, Parkinson’s disease, childhood leukemia, lymphoma, asthma and more unpleasant disease occurrences for those with ample exposure to chemical pesticides. Progressing to organic repellents is a logical step to potentially help reduce the chances of disease or accelerating the course of a disease.
Remnants of pesticides have been found in the bloodstream of sufferers of certain types of cancer. The Facts About Organic Foods Having More Vitamins and Minerals Protects You From Chronic Disease claims that "women with breast cancer are five to nine times more likely to have pesticide residues in their blood than those who do not. The apparent link between hormone dependent cancers, such as those of the breast and prostate, may be via endocrine disrupting chemicals such as 2,4D and Atrazine (both herbicides)."
With daunting statistics such as these, why not make the move to organic-listed repellents? You can now enjoy a pretty, critter-free lawn and garden without using potentially harmful chemicals!
Pesticides are easily tracked indoors by children or pets at play in the yard. Pesticides brought indoors (on the clothes of your kids or the hair of your pets) can be absorbed through the skin. You could be breathing in the very chemicals used to make grass grow or kill pests while sitting at dinner or fast asleep in bed.
Children and pets may be at serious risk of when coming into contact with chemical pesticide residues around your home. William Baue from the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition says, "‘while many pesticidesdecompose rapidly when exposed to outdoor light and heat, in an indoor environment they can persist, sometimes for years, buried in carpet fibers, furniture, and stuffed toys." Pets lay and children play on your carpeted floors. Toys and furniture are enjoyed by all. You may have chemical residue on or in these surfaces right now!
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that levels of indoor pollutants can be two to five times higher than outdoors. Indoor air pollution is ranked among the top four environmental health risks in the United States by the EPA. Microscopic particles and invisible gases can accumulate undetected in your home until you notice the ill effects. Do you really want to wait that long?
Going organic may help drastically reduce these indoor air pollutants.
Havahart® offers a variety of OMRI Listed® animal repellents.