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. Children are especially sensitive to pesticide exposure as they take in more pesticides relative to their
body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more
vulnerable and less able to detoxify harmful chemicals. Fortunately, there are proven
safe, effective, and affordable ways to maintain attractive lawns and
playable fields without the use of toxic pesticides. Use the resources
below, information on Hazards and Alternatives, and our Tools for Change page to help get the pesticides out of your community - whether it's at
the municipal, park, school or backyard level.
In your backyard
- Display a Honey Bee or Ladybug yard sign. Show
your neighbors that pesticide-free lawns are important for the health
of your family, the environment and the community. At eight inches
diameter, these painted metal signs will not rust and will retain their
bright colors for years. The sign comes with valuable information on
organic lawn and garden management, pollinators, and how to talk to your
neighbors about pesticides. You can get a head start by reading the owner's manual here. Signs are available for $13 each ($10 plus shipping for ten or more) at our online store.
- Go Organic! Create
your own pesticide free space in your backyard. In addition to the
owner's manual above, see Beyond Pesticides' factsheets for information
on how to manage your yard without weeds: Read Your "Weeds"- A Simple Guide to Creating a Healthy Lawn. Fall is the best time to manage your yard! Read our fall lawncare fact sheet, Organic Lawn Care 101, for specific information on how to prime your yard for the next year!
- Put it on the map. Once you've eliminated synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in your landscape, pledge your organically managed yard or park as a pollinator-friendly Pesticide Free Zone and mark it on the honey bee map!
In your community
- Educate. It's critically important to make people aware of both the hazards associated with cosmetic lawn care pesticides, and the availability of alternatives practices and products. Of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides,
17 are possible and/or known carcinogens, 18 have the potential to
disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system, 19 are linked to reproductive
effects and sexual dysfunction, 11 have been linked to birth defects, 14
are neurotoxic, 24 can cause kidney or liver damage, and 25 are
sensitizers and/or irritants. Our Safe Lawn Door Knob
Hanger is a tool to help spread the word about the dangers of lawn
pesticides and the ever-increasing availability of alternatives. It's an
easy, non-confrontational way to approach neighbors that may be using
pesticides. You can request a free pack of 25 doorknob hangers by
sending an email with your name and address to email@example.com. You can order larger quantities from our online store as well.
- Enact a Policy. Many communities
across the country have taken a stand against the use of toxic
pesticides on their lawns and landscapes. In 2013 Takoma Park, MD became the first city to ban pesticides on both private an public property. In June 2014, Ogunquit, ME determined it would be the second. Beyond Pesticides worked with community members in Takoma Park to help pass the Safe Grow Act, and also created educational materials for the city in
order to implement the ordinance. You can see Beyond Pesticides' model implementation
plan here. For a list of examples of additional cities and communities that have
enacted pesticide-free policies or have pesticide-free spaces, see Beyond Pesticides' Tools for Change page. As these localities show, there is a growing demand from local communities to regulate pesticides in a way that prevents the pollution of local waters, and stops putting residents at risk of pesticide-induced diseases.
- Take a course. ‘Organic Land Care Basic Training for Municipal Officials and Transitioning Landscapers,’ is taught by Beyond Pesticides’ board member Chip Osborne, a
professional horticulturist with over 30 years’ experience, and an
expert on building and transitioning turf to organic care.
We want to work with your community! For assistance in proposing a policy in your community, contact Beyond Pesticides at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-543-5450.
Keep this information with you through the bi-fold brochure, Pesticide Free Zones in Your Community,
Organic Land Management: Practical Tools and Techniques
(2014 National Pesticide Forum)
With a "how-to focus," this workshop provides people with practical advice on adopting organic practices at home and in local park and playing field management. This presentation was given at "Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, pollinators and practices, Beyond Pesticides' 32nd National Pesticide Forum, April 11-12, 2014, Portland, OR