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About Us

The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns advocates safe, healthy, LIVING lawns and landscapes with the use of organic and least toxic practices and products that nurture and protect the health of children, families, pets, wildlife and the environment from unnecessary exposure to toxic pesticides.

What is the Coalition?
Why Did the Coalition Form?
What Do We Mean By Pesticide-Free?
What Has the Coalition Done?
How Can I Join?



What is the Coalition?

The Coalition is a growing popular movement of environmental, consumer, and pesticide reform groups and concerned individuals, coming together on all levels to educate the public, retailers, landscapers and policy makers about the hazards of lawn chemicals and the viability of safe alternatives. The Coalition is driven by a steering committee (see groups linked on the left), coalition members, and an Advisory Board. In addition to advocacy on all levels, the Coalition supports coordinated actions. For the Coalition's current national action, see Take Action.


Why Did the Coalition Form?

Beyond Pesticides and the steering committee of the Coalition came together to create a united voice for the national movement against the aesthetic use of lawn pesticides and to counteract the barrage of misleading advertisements that portray toxic lawn pesticides as safe perpetuated by the chemical lawn industry and service providers. We advocate safe and healthy lawns and landscapes that nurture, not kill or harm, life. Sixty years ago the use of pesticides on lawns was unknown. Spots of clover were acceptable and dandelions were a source of play for children. Since then people have been sold on the idea that lawns must be putting-green perfect and that pesticides are a mandatory component. It is a false claim however. There is plenty of proof that healthy, non-toxic lawns and landscapes are realistically achievable. The aesthetic, or cosmetic, use of toxic lawn pesticides causes second hand community exposure and environmental pollution. Most of all, it is unnecessary. We believe it is our democratic and human right to be protected from unnecessary and involuntary pesticide exposure linked with acute and chronic illness.


What Do We Mean By Pesticide-Free?

Ideally, pesticide-free means that no chemical weed or insect controls are used on your lawn or landscape at all. We believe that if you work to prevent problems using good cultural practices and you adjust your expectations to allow for the occasional weed or insect, you should not have major problems affecting your lawn. Non-toxic pest management tools are those methods, products and techniques that do not put human health and the environment at risk. Simple changes in your environment can significantly reduce undesired insect or weed populations. Before reaching for a pesticide, ask how much of a problem the insect or weed really is. Is it taking over? If so, first consider making structural repairs that may be causing the infestation, but most of all, find out why you're having the infestation to begin with.

If controls are desired, we consider the use of natural/organic materials such as corn gluten, botanicals, and biological controls or least-toxic materials like fatty-acid or insecticidal soaps, to be consistent with the Pesticide-Free Zone sign. Of particular concern are toxic pesticides sold over the counter and used by commercial applicators that are linked with cancer, developmental and learning disabilities, nerve and immune system damage, liver or kidney damage, reproductive impairment, birth defects, or disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system in humans and animals. Not to mention the pollution of our drinking water, streams, natural habitats and ecosystem. For a list of the health and environmental effects of 30 commonly used pesticides see Resources.

Commercial pesticides that are exempt from registration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are generally compatible with our philosophy as are products listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute which creates the allowed inputs for USDA certified organic food. For individuals, the use of the sign is based on the honor system and not monitored. If you have questions about the suitability of certain products, please feel free to contact us.


What Has the Coalition Done?

Upon its official launch in April 2005, the Coalition developed the Declaration on the Use of Toxic chemicals and established a signatory campaign, see Declaration Backgrounder. The Coalition then publicly called on the two largest national lawn and garden retailers, Home Depot and Lowe's Home Improvement, to begin a dialogue with us about offering a wider selection of natural, non-toxic lawn products coupled with materials and employee training on natural lawn care. Additionally, we asked the companies to reconsider the sale of "weed and feed" products due to environmental pollution and health hazards posed to children and dogs. (See the letters.)

Over 5000 Take-in Letters were brought in to local Home-Depot stores by our activist network requesting a full range of natural products by the Spring of 2006, staff trained in non-toxic alternatives, do-it-yourself materials, and an elimination of “weed and feed” products. In subsequent conversations with the head of fertilizer sales, Home Depot agreed to meet with an alternative product manufacturer, but has yet to meet our requests.

In 2006, the Coalition focused on building its base of activists with a Signatory Campaign, diseminating information on alternatives, and bi-monthly Grassroots Actions such as the Safe-Lawn Doorhanger Campaign, and Fall Organic Land Care Campaign.

This Spring 2007, we launched the first online Basic Organic Land Care Training for Municipal Officials and Transitioning Landscapers. The response was terrific with 76 participants from across the country and Canada. We also started our Policy Workgroup for citizens interested in passing local pesticide-use reduction policies. We continue to work with our Coalition to promote the agenda laid out in our Declaration.


How Can I Join?

If you would like to join the Coalition and become one of the hundreds, perhaps thousands or more, people in the country that actively want to put a stop to the unnecessary, aesthetic use of lawn chemicals please read and sign the Declaration on the Use of Toxic Lawn Chemicals. If you agree with that platform, you are welcome to join us by selecting Yes! Sign Us Up. Your email will be added to the Coalition's google discussion group viewable by the public, but only accessible (to post) by members. You will also receive a monthly newsletter with a timely lawns-related story and an action alert.