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Outdoor Pesticides – are they worth the risk?

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Now is the time to take a second look at what we decide to pass on to our families, our pets and our environment.

By Kimberly Monaghan Posted Jan 28, 2009

Even adopting careful measures to prevent chemical poisoning and unwanted exposure, the fight against pesticide contamination will continue to be a process of education and activism. Donald Baumgartner stresses, “the general public receives no training on the careful use of pesticides and often fails to follow label directions….and applying a product contrary to label directions is illegal.” Exposure from use of illegal pesticides and common misuse can be as close as right next door or even within the boundaries of the school playground. And we must not overlook the fact that food, water and air are possible transporters of chemicals back to our homes. But taking the time to read labels, inquire about regulations, and investigating commercial building and educational facility policies can seem overwhelming and time consuming; however the possible alternatives far outweigh the expenditure. Thankfully help is readily available through toll free hotlines and the Internet. And with the overwhelming educational resources, interactive assistance and political push from groups like the CHEC and the WTA, the foundation exists for a healthier future for our families and environment.

Within our modern and technologically advanced society, convenience can often override concern, and important health and environmental issues can get swept under the rug. We must remember that the burden falls on the consumer to become informed and take the steps towards positive change. All too often we can fall into a trap of trusting “experts” without conducting the necessary research that will support a confident choice. Now is the time to take a second look at what we decide to pass on to our families, our pets and our environment. In other words, it’s time to do our homework and educate ourselves about what we put on our lawns today that will ensure a greener tomorrow.

The following is a list of resources where more information can be obtained for the education, evaluation and alternatives of pesticides.

  • Beyond Pesticides: alternatives to chemicals
  • Child Proofing our Communities: Poisoned School Campaign
  • Children’s Health Environmental Coalition
  • Cleaning Nature Naturally
    By Kathlyn Gay
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Citizen Information Center
  • Garbage and Waste: Current Controversies
    Charles P. Cozic, Book Editor
  • Humane Society of the United States
  • National Resources Defense Council
  • NPIC
  • Ohio State University Pesticide User’s Guide
  • Pesticides
    By Lisa Yount
  • Resource Guide on Children’s Environmental Health
    What should you do with all those household pesticides? Contact the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County at 847-336-9340 for information on Household Chemical Waste collection days along with additional advice and resources for legal disposal of toxic chemicals.
  • Washington Toxics Coalition

Authors note: Just after the initial research phase for this article, the consideration of utilizing any chemical pesticides within or outside of my home is unthinkable. At the completion of my investigation I am convinced and overwhelmingly concerned about the use of pesticides in my community and beyond, and disturbed at their direct link to the commercial and political arena. My future actions have been permanently restructured after this educational and eye opening experience; however, as one of the many fortunate citizens of this country in receipt of all of our liberties, I am hard pressed to believe a solution is on the horizon.

Kimberly Monaghan is a freelance writer living Westerville, Ohio and has authored “Oh No Where Will It Go?” and “Organic Crafts”, two children’s books that introduce and encourage environmental awareness. She is a member of numerous environmental organizations actively working towards, and writing about, solutions for environmental issues in the workplace, the home, and in the community. Visit her website at

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