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June 20, 2018  |  Login

Avoid Chemical Pesticides

Pesticides are often much more harmful than the weeds, fungi, or pests themselves.

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Pesticides include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and any other materials that are intended to kill or otherwise harm living organisms. Pesticides are not only bad for weeds, pests or fungi, but also poison humans and animals. Some legal pesticides are even known to cause cancer in high doses. Even if you do not come into direct contact with a pesticide, it can still find its way into your body; there is pesticide residue on most of the food that we eat (unless it is organic) and most of the water that we drink.

The only way to reduce our exposure to pesticides is to stop using them wherever we can. There are lots of ways to control pests without pesticides, and the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides has answers for specific pest problems. By fine-tuning your garden or lawn to your environment (i.e. with native plants), you can minimize the need for pesticides in the first place. Some complementary plants can actually serve as natural pest repellents for other species, so ask someone at your local nursery for their recommendations. And remember that not all “pests” are bad—dandelions, for instance, can be beneficial to your backyard ecosystem—so weigh both sides before trying to eliminate them.


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1.Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. “Do Pesticides Contaminate Our Rivers, Streams, and Wells?” Journal of Pesticide Reform. Summer 1999: Vol. 19, No. 2. Available from: [9 July 2008].

2.Cox, Caroline. “Ten Reasons Not to Use Pesticides.” Journal of Pesticide Reform. Summer 2006: Vol. 26, No. 2. Available from: [9 July 2008].

3.Alavanja, M. C. R. et al. [2004]. Pesticides and lung cancer in the Agricultural Health Study cohort. Am. J. Epidemiol. 160:876-885. Available from: [9 July 2008].

4.Gilliom, R. J. et al. [2006]. The quality of our nation’s waters—Pesticides in the nation’s streams and ground water, 1992–2001: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1291.

5.US EPA. [2008] Pesticides. Available from: [9 July 2008].

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