Toxic Green? Part Two

From: Robina Suwol
Date: 30 Apr 2007
Time: 14:44:26
Remote Name:


Toxic Green? Part Two
 By Steve Daniels

(04/27/07 - RALEIGH) - Our Eyewitness News Investigation is uncovering potential health concerns in your yard. Applying common lawn and garden pesticides could have a long term impact on women's health. 

In fact, a triangle researcher has just released a report linking pesticide application to breast cancer. "It was frightening," says Sue Sturgis. She had a scary encounter with garden chemicals. She says she thought her dog was going to die. Her dog "Lucy" couldn't walk, stand or breathe. 

"It occurred to me that my neighbors right before these strange symptom s started to show up had used something on their vegetable garden," Sturgis says. 

Now, she's worried about the impact on all of us. "That shows you that the dog is like the canary in the coal mine," Sturgis says. She continues, "and so what if I had a sick child? What if I had somebody in my family who had some sort of immune system impairment?" 

Sue may be justified in her concern. 

Dr. Marilie Gammon is a cancer researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She helped conduct a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that found women who use garden chemicals have a 35 percent increase in the risk of getting breast cancer. 

"If a woman applied them herself, that's where we saw the association & whether they used pesticides in and around their homes themselves," Dr. Gammon says. 

Dr. Gammon and her team interviewed 3,000 women for their study. 

Steve asked Dr. Gammon, "what would you tell your friends and neighbors who are women about self applying pesticides?" 

"I think that a lot of people are concerned about them in general," says Dr. Gammon. "That's why there's such a strong movement to not apply pesticides, but I think it's too early to stop using, to say to women, I advise you not to use pesticides," she continued. 

Dr. Dick Clapp is with the Boston University School of Public Health. He helped write a report suggesting pesticide use in your home might be linked to an increased risk of childhood cancer. 

"Think about alternatives," says Dr. Clapp. "Think about less toxic ways or even non-toxic ways to achieve what you want that don't put your children or your family members at risk," he continued. 

Home Depot has just launched a line of organic pesticides and fertilizers as part of it's Eco Options line. 

"If the customer's going to be growing flowers or plants or whatever they choose, they can feel comfortable this is not going to have a negative impact on the environment of the home," says John Somerville. He's the manager of the Capital Boulevard store in Raleigh. 

"There's no issue with dogs or children, they can use it, do the job," Somerville says. 

Sue Sturgis says her neighbors in Raleigh have stopped using garden chemicals and her dog "Lucy" has recovered. But, she's still concerned about all those sprays and chemicals the rest of us are using. 

"My experience shows me without any doubt at all that we're putting ourselves at risk," says Sturgis. "These chemicals are having impacts on our bodies that we don't fully understand," she continued. 

If you look closely at the labels of the garden chemicals you'll discover it's hard to figure out exactly what's in them. The labels will usually identify a primary ingredient and then say 99 percent "other ingredients".

Chemical companies can do that by claiming their recipe is a trade secret


Last changed: April 30, 2007