Pesticides are poisons that are designed to kill various plants
and animals. They contain active ingredients which kill the
particular organism, as well as inert ingredients that often
make up over 90 per cent of the product. Many of these inert
ingredients are carcinogenic, and toxic to humans and the
Deirdre Andrews, Environmental Auditor at Sir Wilfred Grenfell
College, says that this is part of the reason why Grenfell
has decided to stop using outdoor pesticides.
“Pesticides are poisons so there can be many environmental
and health dangers including skin, eye and breathing difficulties,”
Research has also found other potential health effects of
common pesticides. A National Cancer Institute study showed
that children are up to six times more likely to get leukemia
when pesticides are used in the home and garden. Another report
from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests
that non-Hodgkins lymphoma may be linked to pesticide exposure.
And, according to a report in the American Journal of Epidemiology,
more children with brain tumours and other cancers were found
to have had exposure to insecticides than those without cancer.
Besides the health risks, there were other motivations for
Grenfell to stop the use of pesticides on its grounds.
“Grenfell chose not to put chemicals into the environment
unnecessarily, making another step toward environmental excellence,”
says Ms. Andrews, adding that there are many safe, and cheap
alternatives to pesticides.
She says spraying soapy water on trees and shrubs is an effective
way to get rid of many pests. She also advises using this
solution to kill earwigs upon contact, and using talcum powder
to kill ants.
The Humber Environmental Action Group suggests several steps
to non-toxic lawn care, including mowing high, raking, leaving
grass clipping on the lawn and top-dressing the lawn with
Ms. Andrews hopes Grenfell College’s actions will set
an example for the rest of the community.
“Hopefully once others realize that Grenfell doesn’t
use pesticides and the grounds are still beautiful, they will
also stop using these chemicals,” she said.