Chemical weed killers are so convenient and easy to use. In 2015, they boasted $4.76 billion in sales and $1.9 billion in profit for chemical manufacturers. Almost all of the corn, soybeans, cotton and sugar beets grown in the USA are now genetically engineered to withstand massive amounts of the stuff. It is also sprayed on some food crops that are not genetically engineered to withstand it, including wheat, oats, barley and dry beans. These crops are sprayed with chemical weed killers before harvest as a drying agent, to make harvesting easier. The only way to avoid ingesting this lab created chemical is to buy USDA organic.

The inert ingredients in weed-killing chemicals are found to be deadly to human embryonic cells — a finding researchers call “astonishing." Numerous studies link these chemicals to cancer and they are classified as “probably carcinogenic” to humans. Weed-killing chemicals are highly toxic to aquatic life.

Studies have found that 100 percent of people tested are excreting weed-killing chemicals in their urine.

The most popular weed-killing chemical is banned outright, or may be banned or restricted in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, El Salvador, England, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

In the USA, California is issuing warnings on the most popular weed-killing chemical as part of its Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer. The following states have issued statements of intention to ban or restrict certain weed killing chemicals: California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York and Oregon.

New Jersey encourages schools to eliminate or drastically reduce the use of pesticides. Longport has discontinued the use of chemical weed killers on borough property.

Spring is approaching. Ask your gardener to find a replacement nontoxic weed-killer. Corn gluten meal is a pre-emergence treatment for lawns. Burnout, a nontoxic weed-killer, uses essential oils and vinegar. Homemade weed-killer recipes containing vinegar, salt and dishwashing liquid are available online. These are some of the nontoxic alternatives to toxic lab-created chemical weed killers to use in your landscape.

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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nanette.galloway@shorenewstoday.com 

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