What is a Pesticide?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest. The term pesticide collectively refers to insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides and various other substances used to control pests. Read more information on pesticides from the EPA here or visit our friends and partners at Beyond Pesticides and Pesticide Action Network.
Common Pesticides Used
According to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, (DPR), California uses just over two hundred million pounds of pesticides each year. Common pesticides used in the State are: chlorpyrifos, chlorothalonil, mancozeb and Glyphosate.
DPR reports the top five sites by pound in total pesticide use in Sonoma County are: wine grapes, rights of way, apple, structural pest control and landscape maintenance. The top five pesticides used on those sites are: sulfur, petroleum distillates, refined, mineral oil, glyphosate and sulfuryl fluoride.
Each of these synthetic pesticides consists of ingredients that have a variety of known or possible health effects including cancer, endocrine disruptors, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, kidney or liver damage and birth or developmental defects. They also have great environmental effects, for instance: some are detectable in groundwater, others are known leachers and/or toxic to birds, fish, aquatic organisms or birds. Beyond Pesticides’s “Gateway on Pesticide Hazards and Safe Pest Management” is an excellent resource to review the health and environmental effects of most chemicals.
Fortunately, there are safe, effective and affordable alternatives to synthetic weed killers. Rohnert Park, for example, has had great success with managing its parks by mulching, mowing, manual weed pulling and with minimal use of an OMRI produced called Suppress. Check out other Non Toxic Neighborhood’s preferred products here.
More Information and Resources
Sonoma SASS coalition member, Families Advocating for Chemical & Toxics Safety (FACTS) offers a compressive list of peer-reviewed, evidence-based science. We invite you to review that information here.