A number of studies point to adverse health effects in humans and wildlife from exposure to pesticides, and home and lawn care products.
- A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) survey found that 82% of U.S. households use pesticides and average three to four different pesticide products per home. Only 5 million homeowners use organic-only lawn practices and products.
- Herbicides account for the highest use with over 90 million pounds applied to lawns and gardens each year. Home lawns receive more pesticide applications per acre than agriculture.
- Of the top 30 common pesticides 13, are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants and 11 could disrupt the endocrine system.
- Pregnant women, infants and children, the elderly and the chronically ill face the greatest risk. Children ages 6-11 have higher levels of lawn chemicals in their blood than all other age categories.
- Pesticide residues inside homes contaminate air, dust, surfaces and carpets and expose people to levels 10 times higher than pre-application levels.
- Pesticides can be toxic to wildlife. Of the 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 16 are toxic to birds, 24 are toxic to fish and aquatic organisms and 11 are deadly to bees.
- Runoff from synthetic chemical fertilizers pollutes streams and lakes and causes algae blooms, depleted oxygen and damage to aquatic life.
- Several lawn chemicals are included on the EPA’s list of 50 unregulated drinking water contaminants.
- The EPA does not evaluate the health and environmental effects of pesticide formulations sold to consumers. Safety data comes from pesticide manufacturers.
- Only “active” ingredients (or 5% of chemicals in a pesticide product) are identified by manufacturers. The remaining are “inert” ingredients considered trade secrets and not disclosed to the public. However, hundreds of chemicals identified as inert are listed as active ingredients in other pesticide products.
MERI is committed to protecting ocean life and human health through scientific research, education and advocacy. Please join our STOP campaign to ensure clean oceans, safe beaches and healthy marine life and people.