Spring has arrived, and the prepping of lawns and gardens has begun. Fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides are spread to make lawns as lush and green as possible.

Great financial expenditures are made by homeowners and landscapers to create a picture-perfect lawn. The expense is not just in money, though. There is a future expense that is yet to be paid, and that is the health cost of putting millions of pounds of harmful chemicals in the ground and waterways.

Putting a small amount of chemicals on a property may not seem like much, but adding them all up is quite significant. Last year 100 million pounds of Roundup was used in the United States alone.

There is an ongoing argument about the safety of chemical pesticides like Roundup. Of course, the manufacturer will defend the product saying it’s safe; others like the World Health Organization say otherwise.

The active ingredient in Roundup is the herbicide glyphosate. There are more than 750 products for sale in the United States containing glyphosate. There is a health risk associated with exposure to this product. Exposure can be through skin contact, inhalation or ingestion.

Glyphosate can harm fish and wildlife. It is predominantly problematic in shore communities where rain washes the chemicals through storm drains and into the bays. The wetlands are a sensitive ecological habitat that is dependent on a healthy environment. Altering this state will have devastating effects on our fish and wildlife.

Many countries around the world have banned pesticides and herbicides, citing health risks. Countries in Europe are taking action against the product.

More than 1.5 million people are petitioning the European health commissioner for a ban on glyphosate. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, France and Sweden have decided not to renew the licenses for glyphosate-based products. Other countries around the world like Sri Lanka, Malta, Argentina and Brazil are also taking action to eliminate glyphosate products from their countries.

Back in the United States no such action is taking place. Homeowners and landscapers are spreading glyphosate products on lawns without realizing or regardless of the long-term consequences. There is an active outcry from the public to ban these products, but so far it has gone unheeded.

We ask homeowners not to use these products. If you have a landscaper ask them not to put glyphosate-based products on your property.

The borough of Longport has decided not to use Roundup on its city properties.

We as consumers have a choice. Choose health.

Sustainable Downbeach is working toward creating a healthier, friendlier community with an eye on protecting the environment. For information or to get involved see Sustainable Downbeach on Facebook.

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