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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

The forgotten dangers of herbicides

May 24, 2021 12:23PM ● By Paula Knighton
man wearing pants and gloves spraying grass with herbicide

Weeds are not the enemy!

Yesterday I drove past a young man spraying weeds along the fence. Not unusual this time of year, but he had his four-year-old daughter with him. He wore long pants and long sleeves, as recommended, but she was in shorts and a tank top and was dancing around in front of him where he was spraying. Even now, my heart hurts thinking about it.

Weeds are not our enemies! Weeds are plants. Plants prevent erosion, aerate the soil and absorb carbon dioxide. They feed birds, bees and other insects that pollinate the plants we eat. A dandelion is a medicinal plant if it isn’t sprayed with chemicals. It will actually heal your liver, unlike the herbicide.

Read the label on your pesticide and herbicide. I know, I don’t read them either. Anyone with over 45-year-old eyes can’t read them. Herbicide/pesticide companies fought hard against the government’s mandate to label their products because they knew people wouldn’t buy them if they knew how poisonous they were. The chemicals in pesticides and herbicides disrupt hormones (sperm counts are down, puberty is coming earlier and earlier) and are linked to cancer, liver damage, leukemia and diabetes. It might even be why our dogs are prone to pancreatitis and tumors. 

Further, the LD (lethal dose) listed on products are for if you are a 150-pound male, not a 4-year-old girl or an 18-pound dog. Plus, the LD is if you actually drink the stuff. But what’s the lethal dose for absorbing it through your skin or breathing it? 

I don’t read labels anymore, because they are four pages long in the smallest possible print. Do you think that’s a coincidence? Herbicide and pesticide suppliers know that they can actually tell us their products are deadly poisons, as required by the government, but we won’t read the warnings.

I know the young man had no idea what he might be doing to himself and his daughter. (I did stop and warn him.) The trouble is, we’ve been brainwashed into believing that a weed-free yard is not only beautiful but required, to the point that we write it into our HOAs. What good is a perfect yard, though, if your children or grandchildren can’t play in it without risking their lives?

I’ve lost a mother, a husband and a dog to cancer in the last eight years, and I have a small family. How many have you lost? How many of your family members or friends have COPD or diabetes? Pesticides/herbicides are in our food and water as well as our air, yards and houses. If they kill any living thing, they will eventually kill us.

I’ll admit, pesticides have saved lives by killing insects like mosquitoes and fleas that carry disease. If we used them strategically to kill life-threatening things, perhaps we’d be okay. But many farmers are spraying herbicide on our grains so that they all die at once and can be harvested more efficiently. Meaning, herbicides are showing up in Honey Nut Cheerios, among many other foods.

Perhaps one spray of a herbicide/pesticide might not be lethal, but how many have we applied? How many can we apply before the earth and all of its inhabitants reach their lethal dosage? 

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