(ARA) - You probably don't think of your yard as a hazardous place for your dog to run around and chase a ball, or a dangerous place for your kids to play baseball or tag. But the lawn care products you use might contain chemicals that could adversely affect the health of your pets and your family.
Many of the chemicals commonly used on lawns across the country can be toxic. Here are just a few examples:
* A study at Purdue University found that homeowners who use weed and feed type lawn chemicals increased their dog's risk of developing bladder cancer.
* The U.S. Geological Survey regularly finds every type of chemical, particularly weed killers, in streams and rivers around neighborhoods. Weed killers contain the chemical 2,4-D, which is found in herbicides and is responsible for many forms of cancers and neurological and immune deficiencies.
* A study conducted by PETA found that golf course superintendents who often apply pesticides and herbicides have a higher risk of developing brain cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
* According to the Non-Government Organization, of the 36 pesticides most commonly used by homeowners, 14 are carcinogens, 15 are linked to birth defects, 21 are linked to reproductive defects, 24 are linked with neurotoxicity and 22 are linked with liver and kidney damage.
But you don't have to choose between a lush green lawn and the health of your pets and family. There are natural alternatives that help keep your yard looking great without the dangerous chemicals. Look for lawn care products that are natural and non-toxic, such as the new line of Pet Approved lawn and garden products from St. Gabriel Laboratories.
This line of non-toxic alternatives to lawn chemicals includes products for weed and grass control, insect and animal control and fertilizers. The products are approved as safe for pets and wild animals like squirrels by the Pro Pet Alliance of Veterinarians.
In addition to using non-toxic products, you can have a healthy, beautiful lawn by incorporating other natural gardening techniques. Here are some tips from the experts at St. Gabriel.
1. Sow grass in the fall, when the weather is cooler and there is less competition from weeds.
2. Grow a mixture of grasses that do well in your area. Zoysia, a spreading perennial grass grows thick, choking out weeds and the grass maintains its lushness with little watering.
3. Set your lawnmower higher and leave the clippings to promote a lush, strong lawn.
4. Practice deep watering techniques to cut down on the amount of water needed to maintain your lawn.
St. Gabriel recently launched a Web site devoted to healthy pets. It provides useful information on keeping your pet healthy and other articles of interest to pet owners, such as where to vacation with your pet. You can also interact online with other pet owners and share stories and pictures of your pet. In addition, members are eligible for discounts on St. Gabriel's line of Pet Approved lawn care products. For more information, or to become a member, visit MyFamilyPetPlace.com.