Would he want to know of a study that showed a three-fold increase in lung cancer in lawn care workers who used a common chemical known as 2,4-D, or another that found a higher rate of birth defects among the children of chemical appliers?
2,4-D, for example, was once used as a constituent of Agent Orange. Now in wide domestic use, 2,4-D has properties considered very attractive by lawn chemical companies: it kills broad-leaf plants, like dandelions and clover, without killing grass. Today, annual sales of 2,4-D have surpassed $300 million worldwide. Since it does not require a license to buy, or to use, 2,4-D can be found in many "weed and feed" products like Scotts Green Sweep, Ortho Weed B Gon, Salvo, Weedone, and Spectracide.
The National Institute of Health Sciences lists 2,4-D as a suspected endocrine disruptor, and several studies point to its possible contribution to genetic mutations and problems with reproductive health. Although the EPA continues to list 2,4-D as lacking enough evidence to be classed as a carcinogen, a growing body of research has begun to link it to a variety of cancers, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
One study found 2,4-D present in the indoor dust of 63 percent of sampled homes; another showed levels of 2,4-D in indoor air and on indoor surfaces like floors and tables increased after lawn applications. Exposure levels for children were ten times higher than before the lawns were treated, an indication, among other things, of just how easily the chemical is tracked inside on the little feet of dogs, cats, and children.