Most homeowners strive for the perfect, lush, green yard with no weeds. However, could the chemicals and pesticides in lawn care products cause health problems for you and your pet?
A six-year study performed by Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, found exposure to lawn chemicals raised the risk of two different kinds of canine cancer. One kind, canine malignant lymphoma (CML) risk was raised 70 percent from exposure to lawn pesticides.
Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker, states on her website Healthy Pets, “Dogs at highest risk for acquiring CML were over 50 pounds and living in homes where pesticides and herbicides were professionally applied, as well as homes where owners used lawn care products containing insect growth regulators (chemical killing agents).”
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Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Purdue University performed another study that found lawn chemicals led to higher risk of canine bladder cancer. The most common ingredients that caused the health risk are, “2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxypropionic acid (MCPP) and/or dicamba.” Check the label on lawn pesticides before purchasing.
Dogs are exposed to the chemicals through inhaling them through their nose, absorbing them in their skin by rolling in the grass, or ingesting them. The study tested the urine of dog’s who lived in homes that had their lawns treated with chemicals. The findings also stated, “Since some dogs from homes that did not use the products also had herbicides in their urine, researchers concluded the wind could carry the chemicals up to 50 feet from the site where they were applied.”
The safest option is to not apply lawn chemicals but to find other solutions. There are many safe options like compost to fertilize your lawn without chemicals. However, you still need to be cautious if you live within 50 feet of your neighbor. To be safe, you can rinse your dog’s feet in a bucket of water after going for a walk. The rinse will help remove the chemicals they may have stepped in. A full bath will remove even more chemicals. The spring and fall are the most common times for people to heavily treat their lawns.
The health risks also extend to humans. The same chemicals have been listed at “possible” cancer causing to humans who inhale or ingest it. So instead of worrying about the yellow “weeds” popping up, embrace them as beautiful flowers. Dandelions have multiple health benefits and are a gift from Mother Nature.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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