Relevant talking points can include cost, effectiveness, consumer demand, effects on human health, in particular children and the elderly, risks to pets, and harm to the environment.
There are toxic pesticides that are being used throughout ________________. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that there is no safe level of pesticide exposure for children. Pesticides are toxic chemicals - poisons created to kill. They are dangerous for all living things, including adults and pregnant women, and are particularly dangerous for a child’s developing organ systems.
Keeping things in perspective, we should remember that dandelions do not pose a risk, but 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid does. 2,4-D was one of the main ingredients in the now banned herbicide Agent Orange, but it continues to be used as an active ingredient in many pesticides frequently used for cosmetic landscaping in ___________________. This includes our sports fields, parks, and common areas where our children play.
A growing body of evidence in scientific literature shows that pesticide exposure can adversely affect neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine systems in humans, even at low levels. Hundreds of scientific studies have linked labeled uses of pesticides (as instructed) to public health diseases. Are the external costs of these diseases being considered when making decisions about how we manage our landscapes in ____________________?
Pesticides do not stay where they are applied. Scientific studies show that the common herbicide 2,4-D applied to lawns drifts and is tracked indoors where it settles in dust, air, countertops and surfaces and may remain for up to a year in indoor carpet fibers. A U.S. Geological survey report states, “After they are applied, many pesticides volatilize into the lower atmosphere, a process that can continue for days, weeks, or months after the application, depending on the compound. In addition, pesticides can become airborne attached to wind-blown dust.”
Exposure to pesticides does not happen in isolation. Dose is not the only factor - combinations of exposures are common place. David Bellinger, professor of neurology, Harvard Medical School says that “Impacts from multiple chemicals may simply add up, amplify one another’s effects.” Timing and sequence can also influence health effects as can individual susceptibility due to developmental stages, genetics and medical status. Scientists have argued for years that toxic exposures to pesticides should be measured as they would normally occur, in combination with one another. Yet, current federal law does not require this type of testing for pesticides on the market, except in very limited instances.
Cost is a subject that frequently comes up in conversations about organic landscaping. Studies have shown costs to be lower with organic over a 5-year term, and that's before you factor in the external costs to public health and the environment. If conventional landscaping appears cheaper, it's only because you're not including the costs that will ultimately be paid by your residents for pesticide induced diseases and environmental degradation.
Harvard University switched to organic landscaping in 2008, and Harvard says that irrigation needs were reduced by 33% on their organically maintained test plots. That's partly because organic matter retains water in the root zone longer, so it can be better taken up by plants. 33% of the city's irrigation budget is probably a significant amount.
A Consumer Reports survey found that pesticides are a concern for 85 percent of Americans. 50% of people prefer to buy organic food, even though it’s more expensive. Demand for organics is even higher among people with higher incomes and the highly educated. How much more might homes in this community be worth if it were marketed as pesticide-free?