Why be pesticide free?

boy and dog sitting on chemical-free lawn
boy and dog sitting on chemical-free lawn

Almost everyone wants a lush, green lawn and an attractive, pest-free garden. Unfortunately, in order to achieve this goal, many people resort to using harsh chemical fertilizers and pesticides. While these products are effective in accomplishing their purposes, it is not without impact. Most fertilizers and pesticides currently on the market are made with harmful chemicals that, even when used properly, affect not only human health but the health of our environment. Luckily, there are now great cost-effective and proven natural alternatives that can help you achieve a healthy and beautiful yard without chemicals. Salt Lake City, partnered with Beyond Pesticides is running a trial on a couple of local parks to incorporate the best alternative practices in pesticide management and lawn care. They encourage city residents to join them in reducing the number of chemical pesticides and fertilizers they use.

Pesticide Exposure

father spreading chemical pesticide
father spreading chemical pesticide

As part of the Healthy Babies Bright Futures initiative, Salt Lake City is working to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals that we come into contact with on a daily basis. One common source of exposure is through pesticides (including rodenticide, herbicides, insecticide, and fungicide). Their guide was created to give residents a starting point for reducing and phasing out chemical pesticide use in their homes. It’s healthier for you and the environment!

Chemical pesticide use and exposure has been shown to have negative health effects on humans. Recent studies show that most homes in the United States are contaminated with pesticides. Health effects found to be caused by chemical pesticide exposure include birth defects, childhood cancer, acute poisoning, brain tumors, and asthma.

A Child is Vulnerable

children on lawn
children on lawn, ARE THEY SAFE?

Children are particularly vulnerable to chemicals due to their exploratory nature and size. Children are more prone to place potentially contaminated household objects, as well as their hands, in their mouths. Because of their small size, children are closer to the ground and contaminated surfaces which exposes them to more chemicals. Additionally, compared to adults, children have a relatively higher intake of food, water, and air.

Eliminate Use

After learning about the great alternatives to chemicals in this article, it is likely that you will want to cut down or eliminate the use of pesticides and fertilizers in and around your home. Initially, this might mean more time spent in the garden doing manual labor. Luckily, gardening promotes many health benefits.

Stress Reduction

Studies have shown that working in the garden improves both your mental and physical health. Gardening has shown to be more effective at reducing stress than other leisure activities.

A Low-Impact Exercise

People working in the garden
People working in the garden EQUALS exercise

Gardening is also a good source of low-impact exercises, such as stretching and strengthening muscles. This physical activity is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia. Two studies were conducted in which people in their 60s and 70s were followed for up to 16 years. Those who gardened regularly had between a 36% and 47% lower risk of dementia than those participants who did not garden.

Keep Our Environment Healthy

Creating a natural environment and promoting biodiversity around our homes can reduce chronic illnesses, including allergies, in both children and adults. Recent studies show that the health of our soil is directly related to the microbial life on our skin and in our gut. This is yet another reason to keep our environment healthy and diverse by eliminating the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Related How To article: How to Make Organic Pesticide

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