The Northender (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), July 14, 2006
PESTICIDE-FREE LAWNS DECREASE THE DANGER OF BREAST CANCER
[Rachel's introduction: "The whole idea is the precautionary principle," says Ms. Fiteni. "If you don't need to use these pesticides, why are we doing so when there are these more natural alternatives that you can use?"]
A group of health advocates gathered with Huntington [N.Y.] Town Councilwoman Glenda A. Jackson this week to mark "Prevention is the Cure" week, a week devoted to highlighting ways in which women can protect themselves against breast cancer.
Councilwoman Jackson sponsored the forum with the Neighborhood Network (an environmental group dedicated to protecting and enhancing Long Island's natural resources), the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition (HBCAC), and the Town's Women's Advisory Council. The focus was to highlight ways in which pesticides, which many scientists believe can cause can cancer, can be avoided. A power point presentation was conducted to illustrate a program called "4 Steps to a Toxic-Free Organic Lawn".
"Essentially, we're saying that we know that these things can cause cancer in animal tests. As environmentalists, we're operating on the assumption that if it can cause cancer in them, it can cause cancer in us, so why are we putting them on our lawns to kill a weed?" says Beth Fiteni, Program Director of Neighborhood Network.
A description of the four steps to an organic lawn can be found on the Neighborhood Network's website. The steps consist of smart lawn maintenance, promoting soil life, adding "soil amendments", and pest control.
Maintenance practices can include avoiding over-watering and mowing lawns higher to deprive weed seeds of sunlight and to increase photosynthesis. The remaining three principles include eliminating toxins from the lawn-tending process and instead utilizing compost and organic fertilizers, lawn enhancers and pest control. Neighborhood Network's website contains a directory of landscapers throughout the Island who use organic methods.
"The whole idea is the precautionary principle," says Ms. Fiteni. "If you don't need to use these pesticides, why are we doing so when there are these more natural alternatives that you can use? It's just a matter of educating people."
"Like many of us here this afternoon, I have been touched by Breast Cancer in my family," Councilwoman Jackson was quoted as saying in a press release about the event. "Long Island women in particular have a much higher risk of developing breast cancer than in most other parts of the country. It is vitally important during Prevention Is the Cure Week to recognize ways in which women can protect themselves from this devastating disease."
"It has been a pleasure for the Division of Women's Services to work with Councilwoman Jackson, Neighborhood Network and HBCAC in a united effort to keep our community pesticide free," Rhonda Shephardson, Director of Women's Services for the Town, said in the press release.
Ms. Shephardson also said that more research needs to be devoted to potential links between pesticides and breast cancer.
Copyright 2006 Northender.com