Open letter to the Twin Lakes Village Board
In 2003, I wrote to the Village Board urging the trustees to enact an ordinance banning the use of herbicides and pesticides on lake front property.
Although we now have a ban on phosphorus fertilizer, more and more chemical lawn companies and individuals are using herbicides and pesticides directly on the lake front.
While a ban would not solve the problem of storm sewers pouring lawn chemicals, manure, oil, grease and road salt into the lakes during and after each rain, at least it would be a start toward preserving Lake Mary and Lake Elizabeth for future generations.
Last summer, I witnessed a chemical lawn company spraying a lake front lawn first with herbicide to kill weeds, and then with a pesticide to kill bugs.
The mindset of lake front property owners was very different sixty years ago when my family first bought property in Twin Lakes.
We felt that we were in the country…and yes, there would be weeds and bugs! I realize that we can’t go back 60 years, but couldn’t we at least stem the tide of chemicals in the lakes by not having them wash off yards directly into the lakes?
The dangers of herbicides have been documented. The herbicide 2,4-D, which is used in milfoil treatment and has been banned in Canada, is particularly controversial.
It has been linked to a six-fold increase in the incidence of childhood leukemia and a four-fold increase in the incidence of soft-tissue carcinoma in children. (Sources: Journal of National Cancer Institute, 1987; American Journal of Public Health 1995.) A more recent study has linked ADHD in children to pesticide use.
Dogs are also affected. Dogs exposed to lawn herbicides have been found to be 4-7 times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer.
Other studies have linked malignant lymphoma in dogs to their exposure to lawns treated with herbicides.
At the present time, we do not have any required monitoring of herbicide and pesticide levels in the lake water or sediments.
Therefore, when we enjoy the water in the summer, we have no idea of our level of exposure to harmful chemicals.
Please consider a ban on the use of lawn chemicals on lakefront lawns. While this might not solve the problem of exposure, at least it would lessen the amount herbicide run-off into the lakes.
Lynne C. Hellman