Letter to the Springfield Union-News Editor

April, 1993

This got editied, but as one can see the text was somewhat lengthy. I will add links to this later on, but for now I have it on the WEB. I have made a few changes - briefer and more to the point.
Most people have preconceived notions of what something looks like, thus may miss something not as obvious. When people mention polluters the picture that comes to mind is a factory with billowing black smokestacks. When the words toxic waste are heard people picture some glowing ooze which kills plants and animals on contact. Thus the picture of a toxic land area is "that field" near a factory where nothing grows. That should not be the area of primary concern to parents and pet owners.

Toxic chemicals are placed in your neighborhood close to your pet or child, and with little or no warning to anyone. If you are a parent, pet owner or both, the most toxic land mass in your neighborhood probably looks a lot nicer than your lawn. That nice lawn has chemicals in it which both kill the weeds which used to be cut by hand and grow the grass.

Added to the fertilizers are insecticides to kill bugs which threaten lawns. People who handle such chemicals usually take precautions, but others in the area generally do not. Children's skin will be in almost constant contact with the such grass throughout the "bare foot" season of summer. Many pets, such as cats and dogs, see the yard as a salad bowl and ingest grass with such chemicals. My father's cat Dusty made that mistake and is now dead after dying an agonizing death.

Thus I am going to ask that people be a little more careful with fertilizers. Consider warning your neighbors before you apply fertilizers or before the lawn service company is scheduled to arrive. Also do not put extra chemical near a fence - that may go further than intended. If you do not own the fence stay clear of it - neither the fence nor the first few inches are your property.