Don't Put Your Family at Risk With Dangerous Lawn Chemicals May 13 2014

The backyard is an Australian tradition. Australia's past is filled with imagery of children and pets playing in the backyard while the adults relax and enjoy a BBQ and some cold beverages—but what price are Australians paying to keep a green, healthy natural grass lawn in the current era? Are a few darker shades of green costing pets or children their well-being or even their lives?

Many lawn chemicals are extremely toxic and should be avoided at all costs. Logic dictates that chemicals that kill weeds and insects should be expected to have an effect on humans and animals as well. Fortunately for those who don't always employ logic, there is plenty of scientific evidence showing that many lawn chemicals are, indeed, toxic to humans and animals.

Since double-blind experiments on humans would be unethical, most of the scientific evidence is anecdotal, reporting the effects of pesticides and herbicides on animals. However, logic dictates that humans can be expected to suffer the same approximate effects as animals from these toxic substances.


Organophosphates are extremely toxic, possibly the most toxic used in for any agricultural purpose. They travel through the body easily and are classified as fat-soluble.

Symptoms of exposure include: slow heart rates, contracted pupils, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, excessive salivation, convulsions, dizziness and laboured breathing. Respiratory failure can cause death in cases of severe exposure.


Carbamates are slightly less toxic, but similar to organophosphates in most respects due to similar mechanism—cholinesterase inhibition. Symptoms of exposure are similar: muscle cramps, excessive salivation, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, dizziness and laboured breathing. Their mechanism of transport determines their toxicity.

Phenoxy and Benzoic Acid Herbicides

This class of pesticides, which includes MCPA, MCPP and 2,4-D, affects the integrity of signals transported by the central nervous system. It is no surprise that involuntary twitching and aching muscles are among the symptoms of exposure, as are vomiting, stomach pains, diarrhoea, weakness, fatigue and loss of sensation.


In some countries, pyrethroids are classified as suspected carcinogens. They affect both the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system. Permethrin and Resmethrin are two pyrethroids commonly used for lawn maintenance. Symptoms can include vomiting, seizures, depression, ataxia, muscle tremors and hyperexcitability. Exposure to pyrethroids is often fatal.


These are among the oldest class of pesticides, including such chemicals as DDT, PCB's and PCE. While some of the older formulas are banned in many countries, organochlorines such as Endosulfan are alive and well in many commonly used pesticides.

Symptoms include respiratory difficulty, seizures, twitches and muscle tremors. If a person has sustained seizures or an inappropriately high body temperature, death can occur. Long-term exposure can be responsible for cancer, neurological damage and respiratory damage.