Happy March everybody! I hope everyone is getting excited for the spring equinox and some warmer weather. If you're like me, you are gearing up for some gardening. But what practices do you use to bring the best of mother nature to your yard? This month's research article highlights one of the reasons this blog is called "Unpopular Science". Some things I write about are unpopular because they are odd, atypical, or goofy. But some things brought up in this blog are unpopular because it points out flaws in our thinking/routines/system and implores us to change. This article is definitely the later.
For years, there has been controversy about the use of herbicides, specifically glyphosate. For the sake of time, I won't go into the factors of corporate profit, FDA regulation, or social norms of lawncare - especially HOA regulations. Let's keep it simple, and talk about personal choice and responsibility, in the end that is all we can control really anyway. Let's talk about the homeowner themselves who found the slightly increased convenience of spraying a weed versus bending over and pulling it out in an effort to have the perfect lawn. This spray was been enough for some to overlook the caution others warned about. Or maybe the dandelion killer in your neighborhood simply didn't know that there was any debate about the safety of these chemicals. The time for debate is now over and lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse thanks to irrefutable evidence from Washington State University. Yes, you heard it, that school right here in my little corner of the globe.
In 2019, researchers found that the exposure of glyphosate at half the level allowed by regulation was enough to cause significant increases in rates of prostate disease, obesity, kidney disease, ovarian disease and birth abnormalities in rats. (See link to article below). But here is the kicker, the effects weren't noticed until generations after exposure. It wasn't until the 3rd generation of rats were born that the epigenetic illnesses started to take place.
Let's put this in human terms. You spray your yard with Roundup every year, then go run around barefoot and absorb all of this chemical into your skin. What about your kids, they go play in the sprinkler or your pet goes out and rolls in the grass... exposure for sure. You feel fine, your health is okay, the chemical must not be as bad as all those hippies are whining about. Right? :-) But then, years later, your grandson is born with a kidney abnormality and your granddaughter has ovarian cysts so bad she can't get pregnant.
Now I know a lot of people care more about their child's health than their own. I also know some people don't really like their kids (you all know what I'm talking about) ;-) But everyone loves their grandbabies. So this message should hit home...
Message: Using these chemicals isn't as bad for you as it is for your grandkids.
The effects of glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup weed killer) are severe and last generations. They might sell it in stores, but that doesn't mean it is safe, or that you should use it. If you already avoid the stuff like the plague, good on you! I'm sending a hi-5 your way. If you didn't know this information, be grateful you now do. If you used herbicides on your property in the past, don't self-hate, just get rid of it and never use it again, super simple. There are natural homemade weed removal recipes using vinegar that seem to do the trick just fine. You can also remove weeds manually. Or the easiest solution yet, let them grow. A mono crop lawn is not what nature intended, there are plenty of beautiful yards that don't have golf green turf throughout, we just have to open our mindset to a new look. And if you live in a place with an HOA that encourages less than natural lawns, see if you can help be the driving force that encourages them to be more creative and holistic.
Take home message: Glyphosate has been directly attributed to causing disease generations after exposure. Do not use chemical herbicides on your property. Mother nature and your grandchildren will thank you.
Article link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-42860-0.pdf
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