Target: Gina McCarthy, Administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Goal: Tell EPA to restrict pesticide use
Pesticides have become commonplace for many large-scale American farmers. They kill insects and weeds, so in the short run, they make life easier for the farmer. From the perspective of the consumer, they make our food deteriorate more slowly; our food lasts longer. In the short run, it is a win-win situation. Additionally, pesticides are often used on lawns and golf courses to keep the grass fresh looking while reducing the amount of maintenance.
It is when we look towards the long term that we start to understand problems with pesticides. Because their entire purpose is to kill insects and plants, they have some toxicity to them. At first, scientists did not fully understand that toxins that are strong enough to kill plants and bugs are also strong enough to damage the health of humans. Exposure to too many pesticides can cause cancer and reproductive harm. We expose ourselves to pesticides both in our food and in our lawns. We can ingest it from the air. But, because pesticides are so prevalent, we do not know quite how many pesticides we are exposed to. Of course, a farmer would be at higher risk, but the rest of us are still effected.
Aside from the already present health risks of pesticides, plants and insects are able to develop resistance to pesticides. Therefore, more pesticides must be used for them to work effectively.
It is time to gradually wean off pesticides. The short term benefits of keeping plants alive are weaker than the damage that they ultimately do to the environment and to us, as consumers. In particular, using pesticides at home puts families at an unnecessary risk. Families and private, non-food related companies — like golf courses — can easily stop using pesticides. We would cut our exposure ten fold just from not using it on our lawns. Sign the petition to urge the EPA to restrict or ban the use of home pesticides.
Dear Mrs. McCarthy,
Pesticides are known to be unhealthy. The short term benefits are obvious — they make life easier. However, that is not enough to be a trade-off for increasing the risk of cancer and reproduction issues in our population.
Big farms are often blamed for putting pesticides into our bodies. However, they are not the main culprit. Homeowners, in total, put out many more pesticides. Therefore, in the fight to reduce pesticide usage in the United States, we want you to ban — or severely restrict — the sale of pesticides to general homeowners. It is a first step in the battle to get away from pesticide usage at all.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: jmh649 via Wikimedia Commons