HEALTH PESTICIDE INFORMATION

WESTWOOD BOARD OF HEALTH PESTICIDE INFORMATION
The Westwood Board of Health recommends that homeowners learn the facts about pesticides and consider seeking to reduce or eliminate pesticide use in their homes and property.

Lawn Pesticides May Affect Human Health.
The effects of long term, chronic exposure to pesticides and herbicides is often not known. Chemicals on your lawn may cause health effects through low level, frequent exposures.

Pesticides Affect Children More Than Adults.
Children tend to have higher exposures to chemicals when they play on treated lawns through normal hand-to-mouth behaviors. Children are also more sensitive to the effects of pesticides than adults.

What You Can Do To Reduce Pesticide Use On Your Lawn.
If you use a lawn care service, ask about safer alternatives to pesticides. Learn about conditions and methods that minimize weed growth and create a better environment for your lawn. Ask your lawn care provider what is being applied to your lawn. Request the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each pesticide and herbicide used on your lawn.

If you choose to have your lawn treated with pesticides, ask to see the pesticide license. It is against the law to apply pesticides or herbicides with out a pesticide applicator's license.

Teach your children to recognize that the yellow flags are a WARNING to keep off the lawn because pesticides/herbicides have been applied to the property.

If you care for your own lawn, read labels before purchasing products. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Don't apply more than recommended on the label. Apply the minimum amount and only where needed.

Mow your grass taller and water more deeply and less often. This will promote a healthier lawn thus requiring less pesticide/herbicide use. 

Before treating for grubs, cut and roll back a 1-foot by 1-foot square of turf. Healthy turf can support about 12 grubs per square foot. If you find less than 12 grubs after digging through the soil, you do not need control. If you find more than 12 grubs and you choose to use pesticides to control them, follow the label instructions carefully and treat only the areas needed.

Fertilizers are not pesticides however, many fertilizer products and lawn programs contain a combination of fertilizer and pesticide/herbicide so be aware of what you are buying and using. Specifically, if a product offers weed or insect control and it has an EPA registration number or an active ingredient, then it is a pesticide or herbicide.

For More Information.
Pick up a free brochure, entitled "Healthy Lawns and Landscapes" at the Westwood Town Hall, Westwood Public Library, Islington Branch Library, the Council on Aging and the Post Office. To find an organic lawn care provider, contact the Northeast Farming Association (NOFA) at (978) 355-2853.

Related Readings.
Silent Spring, Rachel Carson; Our Stolen Future, Colburn, Dumanoski, Myers; Living Downstream, Sandra Steingraber; The Chemical Free Lawn, Stuart Franklin; Common Sense Pest Control, Oklowski, Daar, Olkowski; and Start with the Soil, Grace Gershuny.

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