KEEP OFF MY LAWN, chemicals!

Via Lynn Hasselberger
on Jun 29, 2011
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Photo by Deadly the Gnome

This is one time I say no to green, darn it.

Green, as in, the color. I mean, what’s wrong with the occasional splash of purple (my favorite color) or yellow? As in this patch of my non-conformist front lawn:

And, if one has to treat their lawn with chemicals in order to maintain an “acceptable” green lawn, how is that a good thing? Consider these facts from

*  Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system.

*  Children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that make them more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxins.

*  Exposure to home and garden pesticides can increase a child’s likelihood of developing asthma.

*  Studies link pesticides with hyperactivity, developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction.

*  Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 17 are detected in groundwater, and 23 have the potential to leach.

*  Runoff has resulted in a widespread presence of pesticides in streams and groundwater. 2,4-D, found in weed and feed and other lawn products, is the herbicide most frequently detected in streams and shallow ground water from urban lawns.

*  Of the 50 chemicals on EPA’s list of unregulated drinking water contaminants, several are lawn chemicals including herbicides diazinon, diuron, naphthalene, and various triazines such as atrazine.

*  Runoff from synthetic chemical fertilizers pollutes streams and lakes and causes algae blooms, depleted oxygen and damage to aquatic life.

What convinced me even more was the documentary film, A Chemical Reaction. Here’s the trailer:

One of the nation’s leading experts on organic lawn care.

After becoming seriously ill with acute pesticide sensitivity from applying chemical lawn products in his own lawn care business, Paul Tukey became an outspoken advocate for alternatives to chemical lawn care.  He travels across the country lecturing on the subject and has written the nation’s leading book on organic lawn care titled, The Organic Lawn Care Manual.

A Chemical Reaction follows his journey that leads to the doorstep of Hudson, Quebec. It’s an inspiring story of overcoming great odds and demonstrates the power of people coming together to effect great change in our society.

Paul founded in 2006. Its mission is to create a broad-based coalition of non- and for-profit organizations committed to educating society about the benefits of environmentally responsible lawn care and gardening, and effect a quantum change in consumer and industry behavior. Visit their site to view their free how-to organic lawn care videos. For more information, go to

While the neighbors may be whispering about our lawn of weeds, I stand firm. And I’m happy to say I can do so barefoot.

For more startling facts about lawn care…

Click here.

* Originally published on my I Count for myEARTH blog.


About Lynn Hasselberger

Lynn Hasselberger is co-founder of GDGD Radio; The Green Divas Managing Editor; and Producer of The Green Divas Radio Show. She's also a mom, writer and award-winning cat-herder who lives in Chicagoland. Sunrises, running, yoga, lead-free chocolate and comedy are just a few of her fave things. In her rare moments of spare time, she blogs at and A treehugger and social media addict, you'll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr @GreenDivaLynn & @myEARTH360), instagram and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.


20 Responses to “KEEP OFF MY LAWN, chemicals!”

  1. From Facebook:

    Ivy Brayman Stirling And they're all leaching into our water table. Lawns are not the new "green".
    22 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Jessica Patterson I gave up on growing grass this year and opted, instead for a pumpkin patch. Sure, it's not as pretty but come October, my kids are goigng to think I am the coolest mom around!
    22 hours ago · Unlike · 3 people

    Laura Schissell I think my cat and I just had a severe toxic reaction to a neighbors spraying. My yard and massive gardens are 100% organic but am new to suburban living and never really thought about toxins of all the spraying junk around me.
    21 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Andrew Sinclair Awful
    21 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Deb Shaw Lawns do not exist in nature. We have a meadow.
    20 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Caron Koch Watch the movie "Our daily poison" by Marie-Monique Robin. The problem is bigger than only lawn pesticides. Fruit & grains are riddled with man made toxins (even after washing them).
    17 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Lynn Johnson Hasselberger Thanks for all the thumbs up and comments! Isn't it crazy that people would sacrifice their health just to have a weed-free lawn? I was telling a friend about my son + I sitting on the front stoop eating clover (not as a meal! Just a couple tastes) from our flower bed. She was aghast–shouldn't I be concerned about eating that stuff? I explained we don't use chemicals. She has 3 young children. What's up with that?!
    a few seconds ago · Like

  2. Thanks for reading + taking the time to comment, Heather. I must be a mind reader 🙂

  3. Thanks for taking the time to read + comment. LOL 😀

  4. Jack says:

    Lynn, thanks for compiling this article and turning me on to a new eco-documentary. Have been watching many lately. Just saw one called Fuel, that I highly recommend. I am deeply passionate about the Earth crisis these days, and I believe you are too, so please reach out for alliance if you are moved to. I am posting on ele as well (you commented on my last article)l; my next article coming out next week…I hope. Keep up the good work and get fiercer and more courageous avery day. Cheers, Jack

  5. Jack says:

    sorry for typos….!

  6. Jack says:

    The other outrageous pollution in lawn care is NOISE POLLUTION and GAS FUMES POLLUTION. All the noise from mowers and weed-whackers in the city made me crazy and sick. Thankfully, I now never have to endure that nonsense anymore. In Los Angeles 20 years ago I was instrumental in getting the ban on gas powered leaf blowers passed, though you had to call the police to have it be enforced. I now live on 5 acres with an organic farm and vowed 7 years ago when i purchased it to not use power tools for maintenance, and I have kept that promise. People think i am crazy to do it all by hand, but I do…jungle and all.

  7. Mina says:

    Right on Lyn, Paul and the town of Hudson. I am reminded of a Rodale Press Organic Gardening article about this very subject way back when OG was truly a rag- printed on old blurry newsprint. The author, decrying the chemicals time and money wasted on lawns stated, "… it ain't even a cash crop".

    This little chestnut of wisdom has stuck with me and guided my decision making re: lawns and lawn care. Now I learn it probably saved my family and myself from some very nasty stuff.

    Thanks for the info EJ!

  8. Thanks, Jack. A couple other goodies… Dirty Business


    and Tapped

    Glad you're also passionate about the environment! Looking forward to your next article… (what's the link to your posts?)


    PS. No problemo on the typos 🙂

  9. Good going on the banning, Jack! And I applaud you on your organic farm without power tools! Wow! Cheers to you 🙂

  10. Thanks, Mina! Glad you found this info helpful. So true about time and money wasted, too. Humans are truly lemmings in disguise.

  11. From Facebook:

    Heidi Ketroser Massey My lawn looks like hell, but I do NOT use any chemicals. I just can't bring myself to do it. We mow weeds once a week because the city gets mad when we let it go…but really…we could let it go and just be a natural habitat. Looks sort of cool when we do. This just looks ugly.
    3 hours ago · Unlike · 3 people

    Lynn Johnson Hasselberger Hooray, Heidi!
    3 hours ago · Like

    Veronica Smith you could get rid of your grass all together and use stone or change the grass for other types of green.
    3 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Cathleen Ma Doolin
    we had a very bad ordeal with a community well you would be shocked what can get in your water supply so we do not treat ours anymore !! for all of it and more was in our water test reading. if you think it can't get in I got paper work that says different. we must stop and think beyound our momment of gotta.not only that when you treat it comes in on your shoes and clothes so its in your house to even if you don't think so. hay dandelion salad is good let'em grow ! and their root when dried is sweet. ; {=}
    2 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Michael Thompson Even though at times I feel like the LONE RANGER, it's articles like this that give me hope and of course praise.***SEMPER Fi***
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Lynn Johnson Hasselberger Surprisingly, Cathleen, even tho our neighborhood is on well + septic with many creeks + ponds, lawn care trucks are not uncommon.
    about a minute ago · Like

    Lynn Johnson Hasselberger Absolutely, Veronica! I think our lawn is mostly creeping charlie but I'd prefer to elimate as much as possible and put in native plants, a rain garden… slowly but surely.
    a few seconds ago · Like

    Lynn Johnson Hasselberger SEMPER Fi, Michael 🙂

  12. Jack says:

    I finally found this post again and got the name of the movie…now that i figured out how to view all your articles, i'll be visiting them in the days to come. thanks Lynn…J* I finished the poem inspired by this LAwn article…hope to share it with you.

  13. Jack says:

    Did you get my messages above? Thx…J*

  14. Jack says:

    Lynn…thanks for your support. Here is my new post! You'd love my "Lethal Lawns" poem…


  15. Oops! No I didn't. Don't know how to subcribe to comments. Will go through them now! Sorry about that Jack!!!

  16. Thanks Jack! I'll check it out and can't wait to read your poem! Sent you an email… check your bulk folder as that's where my biz emails end up sometimes. Cheers!

  17. Bruce says:

    We let our lawn die and put in an organic vegetable garden. Food not lawns! Habitat not chemicals.

  18. Kevin says:

    And for the love of God, lay off the sprinklers colorado, your bringing in billiions of mosquitos. Let it be colorado not the everglades.

  19. […] is not the time to be watering lawns (something I never do, but just […]

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