Dangers of Chemical Pesticides and Nontoxic Pet Friendly Alternatives
Spring has emerged and with summer just around the corner, we all want a well kept bug free yard and garden this year. But did you know that most chemical pesticides that promise to kill and repel your insect problems are actually just as harmful to you, your children, your pets, and the environment?
In fact, many chemicals over the past 50 years have been found to have been the root cause of many cancers, neurological diseases, gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases, as well as birth defects found in both humans and animals.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has reported that most wildlife poisonings are pesticide related cases. These pesticides can enter the body through the air, through absorption of the skin and can also enter through the digestive tract if eaten or licked. These pesticides can also rub off and be carried onto clothes, shoes, paws and fur. Some pesticides even stay on the surface of grass for more than 48 hours.
Why are Chemical Pesticides Dangerous?
Unfortunately, studies have shown that over the years insects have built up a resistance to chemical pesticides. So, while the chemicals are not as effective, we “non-targeted organisms” which includes our pets, are still having all of the negative consequences.
Chemical based pesticides can essentially get into the water sources due to rainfall washing off into drainage areas, into our wells, ponds rivers and lakes. This has had a negative impact on beneficial insects, such as butterflies and bees. They are killed along with targeted insects due to the chemical pesticides. Depending on the chemical’s half-life, it can stay in the soil from up to 4 to 5 years. You see, when some pesticides breakdown, they just breakdown into new chemicals that can potentially be worse than the original form. Plus, some pesticides stay in our bodies, as well as in our pet’s bodies, for well up to a year.
Safe and Non-toxic Alternatives to Dangerous Chemical Pesticides
What safe and natural products can we use instead to protect ourselves and the yard from all these persistent invasive insects and the dangers of chemical pesticides? One of the best natural organic methods of insect control is horticultural oils. Using horticultural oils as pesticides is beneficial to humans, children, pets, and the environment.
Horticultural oils often contain olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, neem oil, mild insecticidal soap and other natural organic bases. They can easily be applied to large areas by spraying concentrated versions by attaching to a garden hose and combining with water. If it rains, the residue will not harm the environment, and it can be reapplied after the rain ends.
Unlike chemical pesticides, horticultural oils allow you to enjoy your yard without the wait. Certain horticultural oils can even be safe to spray on clothing and inside of the home. They can also be beneficial when sprayed onto the skin to not only repel bugs but also relieve itching, pain, and swelling. Horticultural oils are even better at targeting and repelling specific insects and allowing all of the beneficial plant insects to thrive without damaging your plants or yard.
It is crucial for your own health and the health of your family and your pets that you always read labels and instructions for proper use of any pesticides. Always purchase from a trusted chemical free source that uses correct strains of herbs or plants and also uses clean properly diluted oils. This is because some oils can harm you or your pets if the concentration is too high.
Also, always use a small amount of a new product on a test area. Watch for any adverse reactions allergies or sensitivity in both humans, pets or environment. Be sure to check that the oils in the product you are using is safe for the types of pets in the environment you apply. For instance, avoid tea tree oil because it is very toxic to most animals and people if accidentally ingested.
If you see any adverse reactions, itching or rashes, discontinue use of the product. If there are any severe allergic reactions to any pesticide such as vomiting, trouble breathing, hives, or diarrhea, call poison control immediately or the pet-poison hotline.
Note also that not all oils that are safe for dogs are equally safe for cats. Some plants and oils that repel insects and are safe for most humans and pets: lavender, cedar wood oil, eucalyptus oil (only professionally diluted oil not the plant), chamomile, frankincense, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and thyme.
Here are a few links to high quality, pet friendly insect repelling brands. All are completely natural and chemical free.
Flea Free Bugs Away Yard And Garden Spray: Get rid of pesky insects in your yard and garden without the use of harmful chemicals.
Nature’s Way Insect Spray: An all natural and non-toxic insect spray that is safe to use on people, children, animals, and surroundings.
Vets Best Natural Flea + Tick: Home, Yard and Kennel sprays available to protect your pets from fleas and ticks