Healthy Lawns for Healthy Families

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					Healthy Lawns for
Healthy Families
     A Pesticide Awareness Partnership Project with
Acton, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Littleton, Westford


      Presented by Elaine Major, Westford Water Department
 Sponsored by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell
            Project Purpose
• Raise public awareness about health issues
  from pesticides
• Protect water resources
• Reduce pesticide use on a regional scale
• Provide safer lawn care alternatives
• Involve local citizens to develop new town
• Meet with local Boards and Committees
• Press releases and newsletter distribution
• Printed materials: brochures, posters, flags
• “Our Children at Risk” video on local cable tv
• Provide organic lawn care workshops
• Model lawns with signs
• Display posters in unique locations
      Information to Transfer
• Human health effects “Our Children at Risk”
• Hydrologic cycle and movement of materials
  through environment
• What a healthy lawn really needs
• Lawns and soils are interdependent, living
• Integrated pest management is not the same
  as an organic approach!
 USEPA Definition of Pesticides
• “-cide” means “to cut or kill”
• Substance or mixture of substances intended for
  preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any
• Term also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and
  various other pest-controlling substances
• Under U.S. law, also any substance or mixture of
  substances intended for use as a plant regulator,
  defoliant, or desiccant
      Why Reduce Pesticide Use?
•   They are designed to kill living things
•   No pesticide can be considered safe
•   Inert ingredients can also be toxic
•   Children and pets are especially vulnerable
•   They persist and kill beneficial soil micro-organisms
•   Alternative, non-toxic, methods can work!
•   Government regulations don’t necessarily protect us
         How We Are Exposed
• Voluntary
  – Personal Use
• Involuntary
  –   Air (local and global)
  –   Water supply
  –   Food residues
  –   Industrial pollution of air and water
    How do Pesticides Work?
• Conventional and Synthetic Materials
  – Biochemical Mode of Action works to disrupt
    enzymes, hormones, and/or nervous
    transmission of target pest
• Least toxic Materials
  – Operate physically or mechanically on the pest
    for example: silica dusts, silica, diatomaceous
    earth, insecticidal soaps
Unique Vulnerability of Children
• Highly vulnerable to toxics
• Absorb more toxics from their environment than
   – Play close to the ground
   – Hand-to-mouth behavior
   – Unique dietary patterns
• Undergoing rapid growth, development, and
  differentiation of their vital organ systems
• Decreased ability to detoxify and excrete toxics
• Skin is more permeable
         Emerging Knowledge
• USGS study found pesticides in groundwater from
  every major chemical class
• Effects to nervous system, lungs, reproductive
  system, immune and endocrine systems, cancer,
  low sperm counts, and asthma
• Pets: link to bladder cancer in Scottish terriers,
  may be similar genes responsible for human cases.
• No research on interaction of chemicals and
  human health effects
• Pesticides create an “addicted lawn” (treat
  symptoms, not problems)
• Typical water treatment doesn’t remove pesticides
              Human Health Effects
While effects associated with chronic, low level pesticide
  exposures are not yet well understood, a growing body of
  scientific evidence suggests that environmental pesticide
  exposures are associated with:
• Neurological and reproductive damage
• Effects on growth and development
• Birth defects
• Endocrine disruption
• Cancer

Source: Physicians for Social Responsibility
                            Exposure Studies
• In humans - Dursban* detected in 92% of children
  and 82% adult urine samples
• In food - detectable residues of at least one
  pesticide on 72% fruits/vegetables
• In homes – 3 to 9 pesticide residues in typical
  home with 70% infants exposure from dust
• In air - indoor air levels 10-100X higher than
  outdoor air
• In water - 95% stream samples and 50% of wells
*Chlorpyrifos (Dursban, Lorsban), a widely used insecticide now phased out for homeowner use (Sale stopped 12-31-01)
       Impact on non-target species
• Application of most pesticides results in small
  amounts, often ~ 1%, reaching the target pest
(With the exception of poisonous baits which usually just attract and kill the pest)

 For Example: fungicides used to control diseases
  may fall on soil and inhibit growth of beneficial
  fungi important for plants to obtain nutrients
          2002 Body Burden Study
      Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, NY
First comprehensive look at human chemical burden in blood and urine
Nine volunteers tested for 210 chemicals in blood and urine: None work with chemicals on the job
               Body Burden Results
•   167/210 chemicals detected*
•   48 PCBs
•   15 dioxins and furans
•   10 organochlorine pesticides and metabolites
•   6 phthalates
•   77 semivolatile and volatile chemicals
•   4 metals

*Chemicals associated with 183 types of consumer products (brake fluid, paint,
   flame retardants, pesticides, floor cleaners, rust guard, hand cream,
   thermostats, particleboard, batteries, gasoline)
*64 chemical functions (plasticizers, froth flotation agents, defoaming agents)
Lawn Care Pesticide Information
• ~35 pesticides are used in >90% of lawns
• ~80 million lbs of active ingredients used on >30 million
  acres of US lawns/yr
• Homeowners use ~10X more pesticides/acre on lawns than
  farmers use on crops (USFWS)
• Pesticides are intentionally toxic materials
• Lawn-care pesticides not tested for chronic health effects
• Many pesticides have potential to contaminate
   – Depends on chemical, soil, site conditions, management
• Safety levels are often compromises

Environment and Human Health, Inc.
           What is On the Label
•   EPA registration number
•   Active and inert ingredients
•   Health warnings
•   Application information
       What is Not on the Label
•   Inert ingredients
•   Metabolites or breakdown by-products
•   Impurities or contaminants
•   Known or suspected long-term effects
•   Known or suspected risks to children
•   A statement about safety
               Inert Ingredients
Undisclosed inert ingredients –90-99% of product
   – Not necessarily “inert”
   – Can be more toxic or increase toxicity of the product
   – Toxicity testing done on pesticide, not inert product
According to EPA “Many consumers are mislead by the
  term "inert ingredient", believing it to mean "harmless."
  Since neither federal law nor the regulations define the term
  "inert" on the basis of toxicity, hazard or risk to humans,
  non-target species, or the environment, it should not be
  assumed that all inert ingredients are non-toxic.” 1997
      Common Lawn and Garden Pesticides
Atrazine (not in MA)   Acephate               Bayleton
Balan                  Baygon                 Benomyl
Betasan                Bendiocarb             Chlorothalonil
2,4-D                  Carbaryl               Diphenamid
Dacthal                Cyfluthrin             Maneb
Dicamba                DDVP                   PCNB
DSMA                   Deltamethrin           Sulfur
Endothall              Esfenvalerate          Ziram
Glyphosate             Imidacloprid
MCPA, MCPP, MSMA       Lamda-cyhalothrin      Source: Cornell
Oxadiazon              Malathion              wnissues.html#Pesticides
Pronamide              Methoxychlor           Source:UMASS
Siduron                Oftanol      
                       Permethrin, Spinosad
                       Trichlorfon, Triumph
                    Federal Laws
• Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act 1988
  regulates the registration of all pesticides used in the US,
  licensing of pesticide applicators, re-registration of all
  pesticide products, and storage and transportation
• Safe Drinking Water Act 1974 establishes federal drinking
  water standards by setting MCLs
• Clean Water Act 1972 enacted to restore and maintain the
  chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s
• Toxic Substances Control Act 1976 requires testing, screening,
  and regulation of all chemicals produced or imported

***Federal licensing is no guarantee of safety!
                 State Laws
• Massachusetts Pesticide Control Act (333 CMR)
  regulates labeling, distribution, sale, storage,
  transportation, use and application, and disposal of
  pesticides in the Commonwealth. Enforced by the
  Pesticide Bureau under DFA
• Children’s Protection Act acknowledges that
  pesticides contain toxic substances, outlines
  notification procedures, promotes safer
  alternatives for use at schools
 What the Law Does Not Do….
• Respond immediately to human health and
  environmental issues
• Address inert ingredients
• Ban toxic materials quickly
• Protect vulnerable groups
• Address preventative actions
                          USEPA Re-registration
  • Phase-out of the two most commonly used
    household pesticides

Dursban (Lorsban, Chlorpyrifos) insecticides in pet flea collars, garden and lawn pesticides, indoor bug sprays,
posed an unacceptable risk to children because of its potential effects on the nervous system and brain development.
Chlorpyrifos (Dursban, Lorsban), a widely used insecticide now phased out for homeowner use (Retailers stopped sale
Roundup is a broad spectrum herbicide is toxic to earthworms, beneficial insects, birds and mammals. It is also
persistent, only degrades by microbes not sunlight and water. Soil half life is 24 to 249 days. Detected in runoff four
months after applied and in stream sediments.
                       Community Trends
• Local communities with IPM policies:
    Marblehead Dover-Sherborn Wellesley Swampscot
     In progress: Amesbury Andover Stoneham
• Ban on cosmetic use of pesticides:
      Supreme Court of Canada unanimously upheld the town of
        Hudson, Quebec’s right to legislate the use of pesticides.
        Other municipalities are expected to follow.
      Recently released comprehensive review by family doctors
        highlights the link between pesticide exposure and serious
        illnesses and disease
Information from the Massachusetts Pesticide Awareness Collaborative &/or from Dr. Sarah Little
      Precautionary Principle
Shift in policy regarding pesticides by the
  Canadian Cancer Society from “Cancer can
  be Beaten” to: “When an activity raises
  threats of harm to human health or to the
  environment, precautionary measures should
  be taken even if some cause-and-effect
  relationships are not fully established
           NOFA Principles
• Do no harm.
• Grow the right plant, in the right place, in
  the right soil
• Work with natural systems rather than
  dominate them
• Maintain and increase the long-term health
  of soil
• Avoid pollution
 Organic Lawn Care Workshops
• Hydrologic cycle description and movement
  of materials in the environment
• Overview of health issues
• Steps to encourage healthy soil
• Suggestions for managing problems
• Questions and answers with experts
     Key to Organic Management:
             Healthy Soil
•   Diseases suppressed -no more need for pesticides!
•   Retain nutrients and stop runoff and leaching
•   Nutrients available as plants require them
•   Decomposes toxins
•   Improves soil structure
•   Reduces water use and increases root depth
•   Evaluate physical structure, chemical and biological
        Management Practices
• Test soil and look for labs that make organic
• Get in touch with it!
• Mow high with sharp blade
• Maintain good aeration
• Leave clippings – keep thatch <.5 inches
• Water less frequently -encourage root growth
• Use organic products for problem areas
• Consider limiting the size of your lawn!
          Problem Management
• Talk to your landscape maintenance personnel!
   – Find out specifically what they are using and why
   – Chemicals address the problem – not the cause
   – “Organic” means different things to different people
      • Ex. look for N values of <13%
   – Ask about compost tea applications
• Alternative materials
   – Organic fertilizers
   – Compost and compost tea
   – Corn Gluten
• Endophytic types of grass
   – Resistant to insects, drought, and fungal diseases
Low density
  – Physical removal

High density
  – Spray with vinegar and lemon juice
  – Smother with newspaper, plastic, or cardboard

                                       1 part + 2 parts
Indicator Weeds & Symptoms
Chickweed likes acidic soil and low OM

Crabgrass likes low Ca and specific pH

Dandelions Ca low or absent and reduce P & N
Identify type of beetle
Milky spore (soil T >60ºF)
Nematodes (60% success rate
       & apply to warm soils)

    Insects-Webworm & Billbug
Sod webworm – threshold 1-10 larvae/sq. ft.
   – Decrease thatch
   – Keep proper soil moisture
   – Nematodes

Bluegrass billbug – check pavement for >1 adult/min
   – Reduce thatch
   – Endophytic grass
   – nematodes
         Insects- Chinch Bugs
Chinch bugs – threshold 15-20/sq. ft.
  – Endophytic grasses
  – Big-Eyed bugs
  – Neem
  – Beauvaria sp. fungi
  Dollar Spot       Red Thread   Rust

• Maintain adequate fertility
• Reduce compaction and thatch
• Minimize leaf wetness
                  Diseases (cont.)
            Necrotic Ring Spot            Summer Patch

•   Avoid excessive late season Nitrogen applications
•   Maintain balanced soil fertility
•   Mow at recommended heights
•   Minimize leaf wetness
•   Limit thatch
                Diseases (cont.)
     Leaf Spot/Melting Out        Snow Mold

•Avoid late season growth
•Prevent/reduce soil compaction
•Mow at recommended heights
•Use tolerant cultivars
Flags to Advertise Your
    Organic Lawn
      Long-term Goals
• Reduce pesticide use region-wide
• Initiate citizen-led efforts to develop town
  policies restricting pesticide use and
  promoting organic lawn care
• Project continues after grant funding ends
• Government regulations do not necessarily
  protect us
• Alternative approaches can work – why
  take health risks if you don’t have to?
• Pesticide use works against keeping the soil
  healthy and creates a “drug addicted” lawn
• With this issue, we CAN initiate change on
  a local level
          Upcoming 2005 Events
Date      Event                 Place                     Time
March 5   Workshop              Jones Farm                10am

9         BOH Class             Millenium School, Rm 10   7pm

12        Guest Speakers from   Westford Library          10am
19        Workshop              Eric’s Greenhouse         10am

26        Workshop              Parlee’s Nursery          10am

April 4   Guest Speaker from    141 Keyes Rd, Concord     7:30pm

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