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The Obsession For The Best Looking Lawn
Why are lawns such an obsession and are they worth all the trouble? Most grasses used in lawns originated from United Kingdom and France in the eighteenth century. Maintaining a lawn was a sign of wealth. The lawn grew in popularity in North America in the 20th century as it became a status symbol for the middle class citizen.
Has this obsession had an impact on our water supply? Lawns require alot of water. Running a sprinkler for 2 hours can use up to 500 gallons. Each year an American home uses 270,000 gallons of water. That's about equal to 5 average swimming pools.
Has this obsession affected our natural environment? Having the perfect lawn has led to the use of chemical lawn fertilizers and lawn pesticides. Everyone wants to control the weeds and insects. When it rains, these lawn care fertilizers and chemicals wash down the street, into our waterways and eventually into our lakes and streams where they are a major cause of water pollution. Our children and pets are also harmed by the chemicals in our lawns. Lawns use 10 times as many chemicals per acre as industrial farmland. Do you still use lawn fertilizers? Do you know if your lawn fertilizer is safe?
Has this obsession have any affect on air pollution? High quality ornamental lawns made up of fine grass types can be cut every 3 days. The pollution emitted from a power mower in just 1 hour is equal to the amount from a car being driven 350 miles. The smaill engines found in gasoline- powered lawnmowers, leafblowers, string trimmers and other yard equipment emit as much as 25% raw unburned gasoline. The 2006 gas lawnmower engines contribute to 93 times more smog-forming emissions than 2006 cars, according to the California Air Resources Board.
How do lawn chemicals effect my family? Pesticide manufacturers are not required to release health info to the medical profession. Doctors are not knowledgeable about pesticide poisonings and our lawn fertilizers, so they often misdiagnose these symptoms as allergies, flu, or some other illness. Lawns use 10 times as many chemicals per acre as industrial farmland. These lawn pesticides, lawn fertilzers, and herbicides run off into our groundwater and evaporate into our air, causing widespread pollution and global warming, and risk of cancers, heart disease, and birth defects.
Can lawn care chemicals contaminate my drinking water? Yes, they leach into private and public wells and water supplies. Sadly, there is not program in place that monitors our drinking water for this type of contamination.
Are chemicals on my lawn safe when they are dry? No they are not. Some lawn chemicals remain active from a month to a year. They will release toxic vapors. Breathing these vapors, even from your neighbors lawns can make you sick. Lawn pesticides attack the central nervous system. Even without apparent symptoms, exposure may still be harmful. Long term problems include: lower male fertility, miscarriage, birth defects, chemical sensitivity, immune suppression, cataracts, liver and kidney dysfunction, heart disturbances, and cancer.
How much do we spend on keeping our lawns? In 2005, 58 million Americans spent about $30 billion every year to maintain over 23 million acres of lawn. That is an average of over a third of an acre and $517 each. The same size plot of land could still have a small lawn and produce vegetables for a family of 6. All the lawns in U.S. consume about 270 billion gallons of water a week. That's enough water to grow 81 million organic vegetable for the whole summer!
Do the lawn care chemicals have any effect on my pets? Yes, researchers determined that the risk of cancer was 4 to 7 times more likely in animals that had been exposed to lawn fertilizers and lawn pesticides and chemicals. Scottish teriers are 20 times more likely to develop bladder cancer than other dogs.