Lush, green lawns are often a place for children to play. Lawns can also be a place where children, pets, and adults are exposed to potentially harmful pesticides—and you could be tracking those pesticides right into your home or business.
Chronic exposure to low amounts pesticides in children has been linked to negative health effects, including cancers, asthma, and neurological and behavioral issues like ADHD. Children are particularly sensitive to pesticides since they take in more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults and their developing organs are often more sensitive to hazardous chemicals.
While you might think your family and pets are safe from lawn or garden pesticides inside your home or business, think again. Pesticides from outdoor surfaces are brought in on shoes, clothing, and pets, and accumulate in carpets or dust. Children and pets spend more time with bare skin on floors, and putting objects from floors in their mouth, exposing their small bodies even further to pesticides tracked inside.
In addition to avoiding the use of pesticides on your own property, you can reduce home exposure to pesticides by removing shoes before entering, or immediately after entering the home, removing old carpets and replacing with hard floors, covering carpets or furniture with clean sheets when children are playing, washing dogs frequently if there has been pesticide use and putting sheets or towels on the furniture they rest on, and controlling dust with wet rags or wet vacs.
Limiting the pesticides that are applied to lawns, playgrounds and around childcare facilities will limit the exposure of children to potentially hazardous chemicals, but it’s important we all do our part to reduce community exposure from pesticide use in any outdoor space. Remember—a pest is just a symptom of a problem! Look for ways to control the problem before turning to a pesticide for a solution.