Pesticides, Pets Don’t Mix

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAccording to Mother Earth News issue 123 urban and suburban residents are subjected to more pesticides than those on farms, despite farmers being blamed for overuse. Additionally although farmers have qualifications needed to handle many pesticides, consumers do not, and many of those claimed to be safe really are not. It is little wonder then that our pets can pay the price.

Chemicals used in pesticides can cause cancer, birth defects and a host of other problems. Use of herbicides on lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer 4-7 times the normal rate in Scottish terriers.

Geese and rabbits have died from ingesting grass which has been treated. In addition to the pesticides we use on lawns, yards, gardens and in the home many dogs are additionally exposed to pesticides through flea and tick killers. They can get into problems if the yard is treated, it rains then they drink from a puddle in the yard.

Carbamate insecticides can be toxic and has an unusual reaction in cats – it can make them aggressive. There have been connections between insecticides and hyperthyroidism in cats, particularly those treated with flea powders or sprays *and* exposed to lawn chemicals. This can also be an issue for cats on canned cat food possibly due to contaminates in the water fish were in.

Wild birds as well as domestic ones can die from exposure to chemicals. In 1990 alone the American Association of Poison Control Centers listed 79,000 children involved in pesticide poisonings.

These products are designed to kill. They attack the nervous system of the unwanted insects resulting in the death of the insects. The problem comes in when it’s not just the insect that dies. A particularly nasty pesticide often found in moth killers is paradichlorobenzene, and a hidden use is in air fresheners. This can be an unknown contamination point, according to and as such should be watched.

Using natural lawn care can help you and your pets live longer, healthier lives. Mow more often and not as low. Lawns that are 3-3 1/2 inches is more drought resistant. Keep mower blades sharp to cut instead of tearing the grass. Corn gluten meal can be used instead of “weed and feed” products and substitute vinegar for weeds. Check into organic ways of treating things.

How important is a perfect yard? Is it worth dying for? Is it worth your pet’s life?

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