Appeal to your representative Senators!

Toxic chemicals surround us. We envelope ourselves and our children in toxic perfumed laundry detergents; we smear our bodies and hair with untested creams, gels and shampoos. We further damage our health with pesticides used in lawn and garden care, and in agriculture. It is time for legislation to replace the never adequate and very outdated Toxics Substances Control Act. To view each entry, just click on the title or link(s) within each entry.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Easy Way to Convert Condo/Home Owners Association Grounds, Lawns and even Golf Courses to Non-Toxic

This link provides simple effective remedies for moving away from the toxic lawn. Perfect for Condo/Home Owners Associations and private homes, alike. Golf courses would do well with this approach, too!

 Note: Some associations and individuals do not water. This is all the more reason to go with natural land care. The synthetic weed and feed formulas require water. Furthermore, it is imperative to plant a mix of local grass seed. See your Agway or other retailer that carries such. A mix of grass types will thrive and survive extreme weather conditions. Note: When this group refers to dandelions, keep in mind, that with these smart practices, the soil will be healthier and there will be less space for them. Keeping some in is a good thing as they help with keeping the soil aerated and, good insects like them. Also, dandelions are edible (and so are plantains, which also assist with aerating)! In the early stages of the conversion, you can keep dandelions from spreading by simply taking off the yellow heads before they go to seed. (Go to link below to read more about the whys and hows to establish safe, natural lawns/land.)

  1. Soil: the foundation for plant health, strong deep roots and nutrient uptake. Chemicals kill the natural immune systems that occur in soil. Healthy soil contains organisms that fight lawn and landscape pests, eliminating the need for continual toxic pesticide treatments.
  2. Water: Over watering promotes shallow rooting, fungus diseases, mosquitoes, and nutrient run off. Do not start watering in early summer until the weather is truly dry. Monitor your irrigation settings: water infrequently and deeply.
  3. Mowing Mow high: 3-4”. Longer leaf blades collect more sun, provide more energy to roots and shade out weeds. Mow often: remove no more than 1/3

Friday, June 12, 2015

How to Advance Safe, Natural Lawn Care @ Your Home Owners Association

Knowledge is power and beyond that, it can protect your health and environment. We know now that the multitude of synthetic pesticides and herbicides in lawn formulas are not safe; that they have never been completely tested. Therefore, change is imperative. Several years ago, I found land care people interested in aerating and applying compost tea as well as a mix of grass seed types. The effort was on top of what our association fee includes for land care-- mulch mowing and weed and feed. We opted out of the weed and feed (12 years ago) and had aerations (just 3!), compost top dress (just once!), over-seeding (just once!) and compost tea (twice from local, reliable sources). We had remarkable, quick results at low cost. Now, all we have done is mulch-mowing. We will have some compost tea applied perhaps once every several years at less than $100. This can be done for an entire home owners association at huge savings and this is the wave of the, hopefully, near future. Note: This is in the State of New Hampshire. It is our hope that soon, our association will simply switch to the natural method but for now, this is helpful and it is forward thinking since this is the wave of the future. People are learning more and more about the inseparable connection between health and the environment. A safe, healthy lawn is preferable to most parents and people with pets. Besides, you don't need to step on the chemicals for them to adversely affect your health, exposures come by way of air and water.


WHY? Compost tea is a vital component to restoring soil microbiology that is destroyed by synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

This compost tea contains humates which will help aerate the soil. It assists with moisture retention. It is LOCAL "grown"!

WHEN: Mid-June

COST: $90 for residential lawns.

HOW TO SIGN UP: Call or email _________________

NOTE: Aerations along with over-seeding will be available between late August and late September. We will do our best to offer Compost Top-dress at the same time. We have offered these safe lawn care applications in the past with great success.

WHY AERATE? Lawn aeration controls thatch and reduces soil compaction, providing oxygen to worms, insects, plants, and micro-organisms. Aeration will help grass to grow deeper roots and the soil will retain moisture better. This is an economical way to improve the soil and to make it more sustainable.

WHY OVER-SEED? Over-seeding provides more grass to rid our lawns of bare spots which are prone to weed and bad insect activities. More grass brings better soil health and water retention, and also brings the added benefit of protecting our streets from excessive water run-off. (Best done in the Fall but will also help in early Spring.) Best to use a mix of local grass types.

WHY COMPOST TOP-DRESS? Compost top-dress improves the quality and health of soil. It reduces lawn diseases and relieves compaction. It can reduce the need for fertilizer. It adds moisture to the seed, assisting with germination. Try to find a good source which is a task. The compost needs to be produced by someone highly experience in organic lawn care. Do not accept just any compost, in other words.

BUT, if you are not able to find affordable, local compost top-dress, the good news is that you may be able to find a terrific organic fertilizer like "Pro Start", made by North Country Organics of Vermont. I found this one at our local Agway and, we got a big bang out of it this past October when it was applied after an aeration and over-seeding. Here is a description of this amazing fertilizer:

"Pro-Start provides an excellent start for new seed or sod installations but can be used as a winterizer as well, It builds a thick and invasive root system filled with nutrient to last the winter and come up healthy and lush in the spring. A greater root system in lawns creates a thicker sod that naturally has a competitive edge over weeds. It also increases the lawn’s feeding efficiency and the percent of organic matter in the soil. As the organic matter increases, so does the soil’s nutrient and water holding capacity, along with a significant increase in biological activity. When populations of microorganisms are enhanced (the vast majority being beneficial) their activities create an endless list of benefits including: Nitrogen fixation, mobilization of normally unavailable nutrient, the dissolving of normally insoluble nutrient, aeration of the soil, and insect and disease suppression. Pro-Start 2-3-3 is the fall lawn fertilizer of choice for thin or damaged lawns. (NOTE: if the lawn is comprised of mostly clump varieties of turf, fall seeding in addition to the Pro-Start 2-3-3 may be necessary.)"

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Home Owners Boards: No One Can Know Safety of Weed and Feed Formulas

To my Home Owners Association Board:

Does anyone on the board really know about the pesticides used on our lawns and grounds? There is plenty more current information linking these products with very serious health issues but for now, this is concise and easy reading. 

Please read this link in its entirety. These pesticides (2,4-D, etc.) are toxic and are highly volatile, vaporize easily and carried by air and water drift, off target, for miles and for days.

The purveyors of the weed and feed formulas do post signs stating the pesticides applied. But, despite labeling, there are hidden materials within these pesticides (inerts, manufacturers' trade secrets), which are unknowns. Also, the businesses that put these chemicals down cannot say that they are safe and they certainly cannot tell you when it is safe to set foot on the turf. No one has such answers. There have not been complete studies of the individual pesticides as well as the combinations for their effects on human or environmental health. 

Let us stop blindly following an unsafe protocol for lawn/land care.


EPA permits over 200 different pesticides to be used for lawn care, and these are often mixed together and sold as chemical combinations. They are intentionally toxic substances.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

MCPP is in the potion that the lawn chemical applicator has been using for years at our home owners association. But, 2,4-D is also in it and it is one of the most toxic herbicides ever made. Dicamba is in it, too and it ain't safe. None of these have been thoroughly tested alone or together and there are many more chemicals in the mix that are manufacturers trade secrets. It is mind boggling that anyone could possibly trust their use. These lawn chemical formulas are a threat to human health, not unlike  Glyphosate (RoundUp). All of these creations have been linked to serious and devastating health issues from Cancer to Endocrine Disruption and Celiac Disease/gastrointestinal illnesses, not to mention Parkinson's and neurological disorders. 


 Lawn-care pesticides are not tested for their chronic health effects, unless they are also licensed for food uses.7 The third most heavily used herbicide in the U. S., MCPP, has not been fully tested for chronic health effects since it is not allowed for use on foods. MCPP is commonly found in weed and feed products
  • EPA has tested only nine of 750 registered pesticides for their effects on the developing nervous system; six of the nine tested were more harmful to young animals than adults.
  • Pesticides are composed of active ingredients and inert ingredients. Some inert ingredients may be more toxic than active ingredients and can comprise 90 to 95 percent of the product. Some inert ingredients are suspected carcinogens, while others have been linked to central nervous system disorders, liver and kidney damage, birth defects, and some short-term health effects 

  • Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    Unacceptable Levels Event @ Antioch University of Keene 12-11-14

    Companies have open license to put more and more unpronounceable chemicals (primarily petroleum based), into our bodies and the ecosystems that we depend on for our recreation, jobs, food, etc. The chemicals are rarely completely tested and they are in every day products-- lawn chemical formulas and weed killers, detergents, shampoos and soaps, furniture...

    Please join Transition Keene and the Antioch Advocacy Program at Antioch on Dec. 11 to watch a documentary about how we the people can support a change in direction and have the power to improve our own well-being in lieu of current political will to do so.

    Summary of the 2013 film: "Concerns about his own and his family's health inspire filmmaker Ed Brown to investigate the use of dangerous chemicals and their potential effects on our bodies."
    This is a very enlightening and inspiring documentary even for those well versed with the connection between health and environment.
    For details, see link below.

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Exposures to Pesticides Cause Alarming Health Problems, Especially to Developing Brains

    The March 31, 2014 publication of The Nation contains a lengthy article titled Pesticides and the Young Brain, New research raises alarms-- but will anything be done? This piece was very well-researched and presented by Susan Freinkel and Lee Fang. It brings to light the fact that pesticides used in agriculture, and in nonagricultural places like our lawns and golf courses, cause serious health problems ranging from cancers to diabetes to Parkinson's. Furthermore, it has been proven that children, when prenatally exposed to certain pesticides, suffered from "poorer memory, which affects learning, reading comprehension, and the ability to pay attention." And, as if that is not enough reason to stop the unnecessary use of lawn, garden and agricultural pesticides... "Studies of organophosphate pesticides and others have also found associations between in utero exposure and birth defects or childhood cancers. Other research, meanwhile, has linked childhood exposure with asthma, ADHD, early puberty and obesity." Please take the time to read the link (below), to get a full understanding of where we are at with proving the cause and effect aspect of pesticide use and health issues. It is imperative to tell our government that it is time to hold Big Chemical accountable for the tainting of our lives  with absurdly dangerous, untested synthetic pesticides.

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    Rounding Up Those Weeds with Glyphosate? Er, do you know the Health Risks?

    If you have never used synthetic herbicides, don't start now! If you do use the product Roundup which contains glyphosate along with unknown other chemicals (trade secrets, concoctions that can be more toxic than the listed active ingredients!), you are exposing yourself and others to serious health issues such as liver damageParkinson's Disease, cancers and neurological disorders, endocrine disruption, infertility... And, you may want to rethink how to deal with the weeds. Roundup, just as with other pesticides/herbicides, drifts by way of air (slight breezes even) and water-- it easily gets into your drinking water. Yes, even when you spray it on your lawn weeds, away from water sources, these pesticides get into ground water which eventually enters our water treatment plants or wells. Roundup is even carried to our precious natural water resources-- rivers, ponds and lakes that we like to think are not tainted with unsafe chemicals.  

    I have personally taken care of crab grass by pulling it out by hand which is easily accomplished when the ground is wet. For other "weeds", I have found a simple mix of water and white vinegar to do the trick-- just with a couple of applications sprayed on during sunny days, for perhaps 2-3 days in a row. Apply in the morning to allow this natural formula to do its thing all day long.

    Other ways to get rid of "weeds": Douse them with boiling hot water. Some lawn services have been torching them. And of course, mowing them, before they flower, keeps them from spreading. I generally leave some dandelions for soil health but clip off the flowers. Please see below for some of the most current information about Roundup and its connection with major health concerns.

    Heavy use of the world's most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson's, infertility and cancers, according to a new study.

    The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of "glyphosate," the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food.
    Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc. Samsel is a former private environmental government contractor as well as a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    "Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body," the study says.

    For information regarding the complex aspects of Roundup's toxic makeup:

    Very low doses of some types of the herbicide Roundup can disrupt human liver cell function; the formulations' toxicity may be tied to their "inactive" ingredients rather than the active weed-killing ingredient glyphosate.                  

    Saturday, April 27, 2013

    Why Support something like The Chemical Safety Improvement Act

    Why Support a safe chemicals act?

    For starters, The American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the Late Senator Frank Lautenberg's (NJ) and  Senator Kristen Gillibrand's (NYSafe Chemicals Act (now being called The Chemical Safety Improvement Act), to finally bring legitimate oversight to over 80,000 untested chemicals in our marketplace --permitted by the EPA. The newest draft will replace the very outdated Toxic Substances Control Act which is over 40 years old and has always been woefully inadequate in protecting our health from manufactured toxins. Our stores are brimming over with everyday products that contain very harmful chemicals--  shampoos, soaps, skin lotions, and detergents, weed and feed lawn formulas, furniture and foods!

    Why to Avoid Lawn/Garden and other Untested Synthetic Pesticides:

    The Natural Resources Defense Council's most recent findings that we have been using over 10,000 toxic pesticides that have not been tested or have been under-tested:

    "The report outlines how the EPA has used what is known as conditional registration—which Congress intended to be used sparingly—to grant approval for the majority of pesticides. It also reveals that the EPA cannot easily track the history of conditionally approved pesticides to determine whether required toxicity data was submitted, whether that caused a dangerous use of a pesticide to be cancelled, or whether the uses or restrictions should be modified based in such data.

    “The American public may think all pesticides receive rigorous health and safety testing before they hit the shelves for sale. But our investigation shows their trust is misplaced,” said Jennifer Sass, NRDC senior health scientist and co-author of the report. “The EPA has casually approved more than 10,000 pesticides for use in consumer products and in agriculture through this loophole. They’ve done so without transparency or public comment, and, in some cases, without toxicity tests to determine safety guidelines for public use.”

    Co-author Mae Wu, NRDC attorney, said: “For the sake of our health, the EPA should cancel conditional pesticide registrations with overdue toxicity tests and those that pose a risk to the public. And EPA needs to clean up its abysmal pesticide database to provide more transparency and accountability, and safeguards for public health.”

    The American Academy of Pediatrics is very concerned about pesticide use in and around the home and they are recommending that people avoid their use, especially near children.
    Neonatologist, Paul Winchester at University of Indiana School of Medicine states in a discussion at Beyond Pesticide's 28th National Pesticide Forum in Ohio, April 2010:
    " Basically this is what we have learned, just so we do not have to argue whether pesticides are in your body or in your water. That is the "we hold these truths to be self-evident" part... We know from extensive research that pesticides and contaminants are in all of us all the time; We also know that it is not just one pesticide that we are contaminated with, it is a mixture of chemicals. We also know that the contaminants that we are loaded with- and this includes the 247 molecules found in every single newborn baby born in America-each one of them is known to cause biological effects at very low doses; And the final truth is that our regulatory agencies have told us that we are safe."  
    He goes on to say that "when the EPA requires testing of a product for safety, tests are performed on a single molecule, never the mixture combinations in your body." "These environmental factors--weed killer, fungicide insecticide, air pollution... -- are the list of things we have to worry about during pregnancy or conception. All of these have now been shown to be capable of imprinting DNA, which means they are potentially capable of altering our adult life, the spectrum of disease, and our descendants' lives. I was thinking of 'inherit the wind' here, but it really should be 'inherit the weed killer." 

    From the US National Library of Medicine  and National Institutes of Health:

    This report has shown that during the period from 1996 to 2002 women in the United States with LMPs in April–July (i.e. the time of conception) were significantly more likely to have a live birth with a birth defect than in other months. The report further demonstrates, using NAWQA surface water samples that concentrations of atrazine, nitrates and other pesticides also were higher in the months of April–July. The correlation between birth defects, pesticides and nitrates was statistically significant.

    Pesticides and nitrates, separately and in combination, have been linked to embryo toxicity and to untoward outcomes of pregnancy (,). Women's pesticide exposures through household gardening, professional application or living in close proximity to agricultural crops were associated with increased risks of offspring having neural tube defects and limb anomalies (). Garry et al. found that in western Minnesota the rate of specific birth defects was elevated in pesticide applicators as well as the general population of western Minnesotans and that this risk was most pronounced for infants conceived in the spring (). Specific birth defect categories showing significant increased risk in Garry's study were circulatory/respiratory, urogenital and musculoskeletal/integumental which are similar to the categories found in our study. Schreinemachers et al. found that infants in four wheat-producing states conceived in April–June, the time of herbicide application, were more likely to have circulatory/respiratory (excluding heart) malformations compared with births conceived during other months. She also found that counties with high wheat acreage had higher rates of heart malformations, musculoskeletal/integumental anomalies and infant death from congenital anomalies in males ().
    2,4-D, the main herbicide in most synthetic weed and feed products is an Endocrine Disruptor as well as a Reproductive toxin. It is linked with neurotoxicity, and organ damage and cancer. It is toxic to animals, fish, worms and insects. It is what the herbicide Atrazine is to Agriculture with similar adverse health effects to humans.

    The EPA says that 2,4-D is irritating to the eyes, skin and mucous membrane and since it is easily absorbed dermally or by inhalation, can injure liver, kidney, muscle and brain tissues. Acute symptoms of exposure include: chest and abdominal pain, vomiting, dizziness and muscle twitching, tenderness or stiffness (U.S. EPA 1982). Studies in rats have demonstrated that 2,4-D can migrate into nervous tissue and concentrate in certain areas of the brain. Not too surprisingly, behavioral changes have also been observed in treated rats (Evangelista de Duffard 1990). In humans, seemingly minor dermal exposures have been known to cause peripheral neuropathy (irreversible loss of feeling in the extremities). Depression, lethargy and coma have also been documented in animals and humans.     
    Finally, from the Toxics Action Center which works to keep environmental and human health safe from exposures to toxins, in this case, from lawn chemicals:
     Even though these pesticides are proven to be hazardous to public health and the environment, USEPA’s pesticide regulatory system has put its stamp of approval on the use of these pesticides. Although a growing pool of research links exposure to the pesticides used by TruGreen ChemLawn to nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches and chronic illnesses like lymphoma, leukemia, bladder cancer, and learning disabilities, the USEPA continues to register these pesticides for commercial and residential use.
    Some hospitals are opting to change grounds care to alternative, safe, organic methods-- they are finally making the connection between exposures to pesticides and illnesses. There is great urgency in changing protocol; present and future human health is at great risk from exposures to toxins in lawn and other pesticides. "Homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 35 municipalities in New Jersey have bans on synthetic pesticide use on public properties. Connecticut and New York have restrictions at the state level and Maine and Massachusetts look ready to have state restrictions on weed and feed use on school grounds, playing fields and parks. Many people are simply just opting to use what they know is safe. The manufacturers of lawn and garden as well as other synthetic pesticides cannot legally call them "safe". The purveyors of the pesticides cannot legally call them "safe." In New Hampshire, only one person oversees the licensed lawn chemical applicators and often, these businesses "treat" lawns and land in windy conditions which is not in accordance with training and regulations.

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    Safe-- non-toxic, Cleaning with Basics


    "No law requires the disclosure of all ingredients in consumer products, or of any ingredients in a product's "fragrance," which is typically a mixture of several dozen to several hundred chemicals, most synthetic.[iii] Ingredient disclosure requirements depend on the product. For air fresheners, laundry supplies, cleaners, and other products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, ingredients do not need to be fully listed on either the label or the material safety data sheet (MSDS), not even the presence of a "fragrance." For personal care products, cosmetics, and other products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, ingredients need to be listed on the label, but not the MSDS. For all products, the general term "fragrance" can be listed on the label, or a related term (such as "perfume"), rather than any of the specific ingredients in a fragrance."  Anne Steinemann, PhD.

    People have been asking me what I recommend for an all around safe and good household cleaning mix. For kitchen, bathrooms and vinyl or tile flooring, I recommend the following.


    1/4 Cup Baking Soda (Cleans and lifts stains)
    1/2 Cup White Vinegar (Antibacterial and fights germs and molds)
    1 Tablespoon Unscented Castile Soap (for dirt removal)
    1/2 Gallon of HOT Water.

    Note: Take care when cleaning floors with this mix. Sometimes, you will want to use a bit less of the Castile Soap as it can make the floors slippery. Always re-mop floors with either water or a water with a bit of vinegar after the initial mopping with this formula.

    Note: This mix is excellent for toilet bowls. I just drop the baking soda, vinegar and Castile Soap directly in the toilet bowl and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before brushing.

    Note: For removing grease from pans, this works great; too. I simply add perhaps 1/8 cup of vinegar, 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda and a teaspoon or so of Castile Soap to the pan and let it soak before scrubbing.

    FOR WINDOWS AND MIRRORS and some surfaces:

    Vinegar and Water   


    Place a small amount of olive oil on a clean cloth and gently polish surface.


    Unscented Castile Soap in Warm Water.


    Ultra Ecos Free and Clear which does not contain Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) but this is quite expensive. It is "ideal for HE machines". Seventh Generation Free and Clear has Sodium Laurel Sulfate but assures that it is safe.

    Or, make your own which is very easy and cost effective:

    1 cup Baking Soda at the start of the wash cycle.
    Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar with the baking soda for extra dirty loads.

    Or: Borax-- 1 Cup and can mix in Baking Soda for dirtier loads.
    Or: Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, 1 Cup but do not add Baking Soda.

    This handy advice from: Grandma's Cupboard!


    Earth Friendly Products' DuoDish Free and Clear-- Does not contain 1,4-Dioxane, phosphate, petrochemical or formaldehyde. Also, does not contain sodium laurel sulfate. But, it does not foam. It appears to be best when mixed with UNSCENTED LIQUID CASTILE SOAP.

    Links From Physicians for Social Responsibility in Support of Safe Cleaning and Personal Care Products:

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    Most Chemicals in Everyday Products Have not Been Tested and the Same Applies to Synthetic Pesticides

    I whole-heartedly endorse the Safe Chemicals Act mentioned in Ian Urbina's  April 13, 2013 New York Times article, THINK THOSE CHEMICALS HAVE BEEN TESTED.  But, I take issue with the presumption that pesticides are tested and safe for the marketplace.  If the synthetic pesticides are “safe”, why are they banned or regulated for “cosmetic” lawn care in most of Canada and Europe? Why do various states like New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have laws regarding their use on school grounds, public parks and playing fields? Why are Harvard and the University of Colorado at Boulder and other colleges as well as various cities, school systems and finally, hospitals not using traditional chemical grounds care?! It can, indeed, be said that like with the majority of chemicals in use today, the same holds true of most pesticides—that they have never been tested independently as well as together! The American Academy of Pediatrics warns about pesticide use: 

    Pesticides are a collective term for chemicals intended to kill unwanted insects, plants, molds, and rodents. Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity. Acute poisoning risks are clear, and understanding of chronic health implications from both acute and chronic exposure are emerging. Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems. Related animal toxicology studies provide supportive biological plausibility for these findings. Recognizing and reducing problematic exposures will require attention to current inadequacies in medical training, public health tracking, and regulatory action on pesticides. Ongoing research describing toxicologic vulnerabilities and exposure factors across the life span are needed to inform regulatory needs and appropriate interventions.

    Public health is at great risk and it is high time we put our heads together to regulate the chemical industry. We have rules for just about every aspect of our  lives and yet we have been permitting toxic pesticides, and chemicals in general, to be manufactured and used despite their huge cost to society. All of us, businesses included, will benefit from having safer alternatives in the marketplace.