Chemicals can be dangerous: 19 of the 30 most commonly used pesticides are linked to cancer, 13 can cause birth defects, 21 cause reproductive disorders, 26 cause kidney damage, 15 can cause neural problems and 11 can mess up hormones. When pesticides such as these are used in large quantities, the yard can become very toxic, according to the Lawn Reform Coalition. These chemicals are harmful to humans, the environment and animals--putting some on the endangered species list.
Children and Pets
Children and pets are at a particular risk when lawns are toxic, because they tend to roll around in the grass and garden and some put plants and blades of grass in their mouths. Also, children and pets might not have developed the ability to break down harmful chemicals and are also more likely to become very sick from these chemicals. The fact that children have a smaller body size means that the same amount of chemicals that would barely affect an adult can severely harm a child, according to the Rachel Carson Council. Dogs are also affected, with many dogs developing anorexia, loose stools, vomiting, a lack of coordination, tremors and excessive salivating. Using organic fertilizers like seaweed fertilizer can reduce the risks of harmful health effects. Otherwise, adults will just have to keep kids and pets away from the grass after chemical applications.
Many homes attempt organic lawn care by using chemicals that come from nature. While this approach is sometimes effective, natural products sometimes are just as toxic as unnatural products, according to the Rachel Carson Council. Compost can develop harmful anaerobic bacteria if the compost is not turned regularly.
Lawns can become more toxic when water becomes stagnant, since this water can become a home to bacteria and harmful fungi. Certain plants are able to continually recycle moisture, preventing the moisture from becoming stagnant. Plants that are regularly fertilized will become more resistant to pests and disease, which will make the lawn healthier, according to the Sierra Club. Lawns should contain a mixture of clay and sandy loam so that moisture can cycle efficiently.
Lawns that do not get enough air will develop anaerobic bacteria, which can release toxins that can make the lawn less healthy, according to the Sierra Club. Regular tilling can create more lawn aeration.
Lawn care products that are not safe are sometimes approved by the EPA. These chemicals can leach into drinking water, which can have harmful effects on human health. These products can also release harmful vapors even when dry, according to Earth Easy. Before using these products, look into the latest research regarding their safety.