Spring is such a great time of year because it represents new life. Beautiful flowers, vegetable gardens, and lush green grass bring the warmer seasons to life, both literally and figuratively.
I know I have a few eager neighbors already getting out to start their early spring gardening chores. I have to tell you, though; I worry a little bit about their health.
Even though it’s a time we all look forward to, spring can also be cause for trouble. Pests and weeds can irritate any garden and, more importantly, threaten the hard work you’ve put into it. Of course, how you take care of these problems can also have a major impact on your health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has just declared that a chemical found in a number of popular herbicides may cause cancer. After a series of test reviews, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that glyphosate, a chemical used in herbicides, is probably carcinogenic.
Glyphosate is found in over 750 products for sale in the United States and comes in various solid and liquid forms. One of the more popular products it’s found in is the herbicide “Roundup.”
To reach its conclusion, the WHO largely rejected the findings of industry studies, relying largely on work conducted by the government and peer-reviewed studies. By doing this, they felt they were able to get unbiased research.
This finding came only days after another study found that glyphosate might also lead to antibiotic resistance. The American Society for Microbiology connected it to antibiotic resistance for E. coli and salmonella.
So what does this mean for you, the avid gardener? It means that you might want to reconsider how you deal with broadleaf and weed grass on your lawn and garden. Instead of using products with harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals (throw out that Roundup!), you can try the following options:
Pull Them: It’s more time consuming, but look on the bright side: it gives you a chance to spend more time outdoors and get a little exercise! Just make sure you’re hydrated, have stretched, and are applying sunscreen if you’re exposed for longer than 20 minutes. Soak up the sun for the first 20 minutes though; it’s the best way to get that all-important vitamin D we’re always harping on here at Doctors Health Press.
Boiling Water: Pouring boiling water on weeds can work to kill them because of their shallow roots. Just be careful not to burn yourself; wear your toughest gardening gloves when doing this job.
Salt: Putting salt on weeds can help kill them as well.
Smother Them: The result might not look much better, but you can kill weeds by taking away their sunlight and oxygen. One way to do this is to cover the weed-infested area with multiple layers of wet newspaper weighed down with a layer of mulch.
Replace Them: If the weeds are overwhelming or found in areas that don’t grow grass or flowers, you can always consider putting in fake grass, mulch, or rocks in the area instead. This also lowers maintenance and allows you more time to enjoy your yard!
Sources for Today’s Article:
Guyton, K., et al., “Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate,” The Lancet web site, March 20, 2015; http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045%2815%2970134-8/abstract, last accessed April 1, 2015.
Kurenbach, B., et al., “Sublethal Exposure to Commercial Formulations of the Herbicides Dicamba, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid, and Glyphosate Cause Changes in Antibiotic Susceptibility in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium,” American Society for Microbiology web site, March 24, 2015; http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/2/e00009-15.abstract?sid=d34d6995-27de-4842-a3e2-b88dcb06c31d, last accessed April 1, 2015.