The Edsel of the Chemical Industry

April 20th, 2004

To the Editor,

Voluntary notification of pesticide usage promulgates the view that airborne and ground level residues of lawn chemicals are only harmful to a few persons who should be accommodated as a courtesy due to one’s neighbors. This is a false assumption and we must remember that persons who have learned to avoid such contaminants have done so through a process whereby they were injured first and now must take defensive steps. Why don’t we take preventive steps for the benefit of all those not yet injured or for whom the source of their ill health is as yet unknown?

No one is closing down industry. By its definition, industry is an endeavor undertaken to supply society with needed or desired products for profit. It must evolve with society’s needs, not hold a culture hostage to the needs and technologies of the past. After all, has anyone said we should all be driving Edsels to avoid shutting down those plants?

The lawn care industry is necessary to fulfill the aesthetic desires of our culture to enjoy nature, not to pervert it. However, the chemicals used to provide an unnatural carpet of uniform color called a “lawn” is not an appreciation of nature. Rather, it enforces an artificial code of “beauty” (remember corsets?) that can only damage the environment and create many sick/damaged persons in that effort. Many safe products such as vinegar and citric acid will limit the growth of weeds when used in conjunction with heavy seeding of diverse grasses and less water which limit the growth of fungi and attracts fewer pests.

We need to foster a new set of values not based upon golf courses where the grass is the medium of the sport itself. Children and animals play on lawns, not putt. Passers-by with baby carriages need to know the lawns they pass are not emitting harmful gasses that their babies don’t even have the internal mechanisms to fight at this stage of life. Twenty five million Americans have asthma and did not come by it accidentally. Many of the chemicals in use are already banned with existing stocks being depleted over the next several years. The bans reflect biochemical incompatibility with all persons although a certain percentage of individuals will be severely harmed. I know since I am among them. At the age of 45, I became brain injured and chronically ill from the use of sprayed pesticides – the Edsel of the chemical industry.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Daily Freeman

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