Springtime is here and that means we’ll be cracking out herbicides and fertilizers to kill weeds and enrich our lawns and gardens. Here’s why you should think twice.
Many herbicides, with one in particular containing 2,4-D, an ingredient in Agent Orange, are linked to at least two kinds of cancer in dogs. And if you’re using a professional lawn service – a company with access to chemicals and compounds not available to regular homeowners – the risk is elevated.
According to researchers at Tufts University, “The use of professionally applied pesticides was associated with a significant 70% higher risk of canine malignant lymphoma (CML)… risk was also higher in those reporting use of self-applied insect growth regulators.”
The Tufts six-year study found that the use of lawn pesticides was associated with a greater risk of canine malignant lymphoma (CML), a model for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in humans. And an earlier study showed that herbicides with 2,4-D doubled the risk of CML when owners sprayed their lawns four or more times in a year.
A 2013 study showed an increased risk of dogs developing bladder cancer following the use of 2,4-D herbicides. And some breeds are more susceptible due to a genetic predisposition: Beagles, Scottish Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, West Highland White Terriers, and Wire Hair Fox Terriers.
“Chemicals were detected in the urine of dogs in 14 of 25 households before lawn treatment, in 19 of 25 households after lawn treatment, and in 4 of 8 untreated households,” the authors said. “Chemicals were commonly detected in grass residues from treated lawns, and from untreated lawns suggesting chemical drift from nearby treated areas.”
So when your lawn service places a sign in your yard warning that “this lawn has been treated,” they’re doing it for you and your pets. Now consider the public dog park you’re visiting. Are they using pesticides or herbicides?
More information can be found at the National Pesticide Information Center.