Its that time of year again. The wildflowers cover the mountains and meadows in beautiful clusters that are a delight to bees, butterflies and people. Spring fever has sprung and we are all enjoying the much-needed warmth and songs of song birds in the wetlands.
Here in South Meadows, we are experiencing another boom in house sales and construction. This is great for our local economy, but not so great on the natural habitat, our children and our pets.
Alongside this beautiful right of Spring, we hear loud leaf blowers (known to stir up asthma and allergies to susceptible people and children) as well as the sound of truck engines powering large hoses that douse trees with unnamed pesticides for the sake of killing a few small aphids.
Pesticides are the only toxic substances released intentionally into our environment to kill living things. This includes substances that kill weeds (herbicides), insects (insecticides), fungi (fungicides), rodents (rodenticides), and others.
On any given day, you can see someone with a pesticide sprayer attached to their backs spraying the roadside, rocks and weeds along South Meadows and Veterans Parkway. Most of them are Reno Landscaping companies. The herbicides they spray, kills the weeds, grass, soil and beneficial insects and earthworms, leaving a disgusting area of dead weeds for a month.
After another week or two, the weeds start growing through the dead weeds. I feel spraying Roundup or other pesticides are causing serious health damage to the members of our community as well as wildlife and are not even making a dent in the weed problems we have in the area.
What happens to all of the toxic pesticides that are applied over and over again to that area?
We walk our children and pets through the dried chemicals. Track them onto our shoes and clothing. We then bring them home with us.
Pesticides can last in your home for years, causing short and long-term health issues. These chemicals build up in our bodies and create illness and distress for our immune systems.
Hundreds of thousands of people each year die from pesticide exposure.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10,000-20,000 physician-diagnosed pesticide poisonings occur each year in the Agriculture industry alone. source: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/pesticides/
“The total number of pesticide poisonings in the United States is estimated to be 300,000/year) (EPA, 1992).” -The incidence of cancer in the US ranges from 10,000 to 15,000 cases per year. If the incidence of cancer among Latino farm workers per year were applied to the rest of the US population, there would be 83,000 cases of cancer per year associated with pesticides. 3. source: www.beyondpesticides.org/documents/pimentel.pesticides.2005update.pdf
Peyton McCaughey and his family fell ill shortly after a Terminix subcontractor, Sunland Pest Control, sprayed their Palm City home for termites on August 14, family attorney Bill Williams said. The family was told it was safe to return to the home two days later on August 16, Williams said. Read full article here.
Pesticides build up in our fatty tissues over time. Our children are more susceptible to acute poisoning and serious health problems, because of their developing and smaller body size.
Over time, these pesticides reach critical levels in our bloodstream. We are constantly being “treated” with these pesticides.
Here are a few examples of how your, your family and pets are exposed every day:
- walking on a sidewalk or grass that was treated with pesticides.
- laying/walking on grass treated with pre-emergents and pesticides.
- visiting the hospital where they spray regularly with pesticides.
- schools & cafeterias.
- restaurants use pesticides to keep rodents and ants away.
- food your eating. especially eating at restaurants.
- in your drinking water. most wells and waterways test positive for pesticides each year.
- body products like shampoo, makeup and household cleaning supplies.
- garden soil, compost, hay and plants are treated with pesticides.
- pesticide drift from other cities, states and even countries.
- county health departments spraying pesticides along our streets in the morning for a few mosquitoes that might have west nile virus? Read why the pesticides are killing more people than the mosquitoes are in Nevada here.
- sports fields are loaded with cancer-causing fertilizers and pesticides, and so are city parks.
- cemeteries stink of strong chemicals. these weed killers and fertilizers are seriously damaging your immune system every time you visit a departed loved one.
The World Health Organization states that by the year 2020, half of every human on the planet will have some form of cancer.
Long-term exposure to pesticides can increase the risk of developmental and reproductive disorders, immune-system disruption, endocrine disruption, impaired nervous system function, and the development of certain cancers. Children are at higher risk from exposure than are adults (6,7,3,2).
Pesticides, when not judiciously used, may disrupt natural biological pest control mechanisms. More vigorous pest attacks may result, along with heavier chemical use, and increased health exposures. Pesticides, as well as fertilizers, can infiltrate water sources – contaminating drinking water and animal species, e.g. fish, upon which humans rely for nutrition. Such contamination can lead to a range of secondary public health impacts (7,8).
When does the next pesticide exposure cause a life-threatening emergency for your family?
Why are we allowing landscape companies, HOAs and cities to constantly trespass on our right to live a healthy lifestyle?
We have organic solutions to weed control. There are thousands of cities around the world managing beautiful landscapes without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Our children deserve a chance to live strong healthy lives. We all must do something, now. Make a phone call, talk to a friend, share literature door to door, hold a fundraiser…. everything counts.
Where do we start? For one thing, educate your neighbors, family, and friends about pesticide use and safer alternatives. Practice organic gardening and land care as well. You must buy certified organic soil, compost, hay, seeds and plants to be considered safe and organic.
Call your HOA and ask for a meeting, share success stories from other HOA’s who have made the organic switch. Build interest in your community. Complain via written letter and public comments. Distribute flyers to your neighbor’s homes educating them on safer alternatives. Join your local PTA, Ward or club. Give a presentation at church. File complaints with the landscaping company. Let them know you are watching the destruction they are causing in our community. Learn organic land care. Take organic gardening classes. Vote with your wallet. Buy certified organic food for your family (NOTE: the food product must say ORGANIC and/or have the logo on the left, or it is GMO and NOT organic!). Don’t eat out that much… most restaurants, even the ones that are supposed to be organic, are most certainly NOT!
Don’t let your loved ones be a WHO statistic. We have to Be persistent! Act as if your very life depended on it…