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Lawn chemicals cause concern

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New laws restrict pesticides and fertilizers in some cities. In recent years, farms have cut the use of chemicals. But, Rebecca Williams reports, some environmentalists say there are still far too many chemicals polluting streams and lakes.

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Rebecca Williams
July 27, 2009

New laws restrict pesticides and fertilizers in some cities. In recent years, farms have cut the use of chemicals. But, Rebecca Williams reports, some environmentalists say there are still far too many chemicals polluting streams and lakes:

There are 40 million acres of lawns and sports fields in the US. That's only one-tenth of the amount of cropland.

But some experts say lawn pesticides and fertilizers can be more of a problem.

Charles Benbrook is the Chief Scientist with the Organic Center. It's a non-profit research group in Oregon.

"While there are many more acres of corn and soybeans and cotton treated with pesticides than there are lawns, the rate of application on lawns in urban areas often is far higher than on the farm."

And, he says people are more likely to get exposed to chemicals on lawns.

"There's many more opportunities for significant exposures, particularly for children and pregnant women in urban areas."

Nationwide, farms do use the bulk of chemicals. But Benbrook says homeowners are more likely to overuse pesticides and fertilizers.

For The Environment Report, I'm Rebecca Williams.

2009 Environment Report

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