The Palisadian-Post has partnered with local environmental organization Resilient Palisades to deliver a weekly “green tip” to our readers.
Private and public spaces in Pacific Palisades—from our own gardens to our sidewalks, around commercial buildings, and even playgrounds—are regularly treated for weeds and pests using chemicals.
You’ve probably witnessed a gardener or pest control specialist spraying with a long nozzle and a plastic container of a clear liquid; a commercial building maintenance worker spraying the edge of buildings and sidewalk cracks; a pickup truck pulling up to your neighbor’s curb, carrying a large drum of clear liquid in the truck bed, hosing everything from the lawn all the way to the tippy-tops of ficus and other hedges.
Clear and unscented weedkillers and pesticides are all around us: from the surfaces they’re sprayed on to the air they travel through during their application. Imagine a hedge being sprayed in the garden next to you as you sit inside at home with your windows open. And with one ubiquitous weedkiller compound alone, glyphosate, a recent study showed a potential link with cancer, as well as liver and kidney damage.
For decades, the Environmental Protection Agency has done very little to protect humans against these chemicals that line our nursery aisles. Kowtowing to the pressures of industry, they have relied on tests provided by chemical companies themselves or used “exposure rates” that are often far less than realistic when determining their safety.
We can all step up to reduce the toxic load in our community and our homes:
Ask your gardener to stop using all herbicides and pesticides around your garden. Observe for a six-month period to see if you see any change. If pests visit, use neem oil or other organic biological controls. Also, reconsider weeds. If they’re not competing with newly planted or ornamental plants, they are benefiting bees and other beneficial insects.
Write or call your local representatives as well as your schools, parks and commercial buildings where you frequent to make your voice heard. It’s possible that your family and pets are being exposed at rates that are far beyond safe, even in your home.
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