(The following Letter to the Editor has been submitted by Liz Rog of Decorah):
"Last night I hosted a special gathering at my home for a small group of friends. One woman who had been eager to come couldn't make it after all. Her next-door neighbor had just had their lawn sprayed with herbicides, and she was sick from the fumes.
I'm sure she was also sick at heart. She has two young children and knows, as more people do every day, that these chemicals are extremely toxic to all humans as well as to insects, birds, and mammals. They also seep into the ground water and we all drink them. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has now declared glyphosate a "probable human carcinogen." (Pesticide Action Network, www.panna.org)
My brother died from a terrible disease caused by 'normal' exposure to these legal lawn chemicals. That's why I ache each time spring rolls around and the little white signs pop up in people's lawns. 'Keep off for 24 hours'—??? I also ache for the people—often young men—doing the application. What does their future hold? What effect might this exposure have on their offspring?
I don't know how much it costs to have a lawn sprayed, but I'm certain that the people who are paying for it do not understand the true price that we are all paying for their dandelion-free lawns.
The good news is that each year fewer people are spraying their lawns. For, although the profiteers assure us that their weed-killers are safe, people are learning otherwise.
Neighborhoods, let's stick together! Let's celebrate the places that are healthy, thank the people who don't spray, and relax about the dandelions, whose presence is natural and fleeting. Or—invite the neighbors together for a dandelion-digging party! Now there's a way to truly make our lawns beautiful."