ChemLawn, currently known as Tru Green, is the largest lawncare company in the U.S. and Canada. It is estimated almost 4 million households use their service every year. The company exists since the 1970s, even though it functioned under different brands and names during its history. It is one of the most controversial companies, criticized by environmentalists and the American public for using toxic and/or banned chemicals.
Despite a drastic reduction in the use of pesticides used on agricultural lands in the last years, Americans do not compromise when it comes to their lawns. In fact, it has been asserted that lawn care companies use 10 times more pesticides per acre than farmers. In addition, this sector is growing as we speak, both in demand and in supply.
About ChemLawn Tru Green
Presently, ChemLawn describes itself as a promoter of healthy and natural growth. The company states all of their products are EPA-approved for lawn care and landscaping uses, allergen-free, and carcinogens-free. Another claim found on their product use statement page says none of their products can infiltrate into the ground waters. Another statement from the company tells how their ingredients are commonly found in many other products that are available to consumers.
In addition, they also say they do not and will not use GMOs. While this might be true, the fact that some of their products have damaging consequences on the environment and ourselves still stands tall. Here’s why:
Why ChemLawn’s Tru Green Still Is Dangerous
First of all, not all EPA-approved substances truly are consequence-free. Most of them indeed have reduced effects on our environment and health, but they are far from being 100% safe. Children and pets are particularly sensitive to these chemicals, which are extremely volatile. Them and sensitive adults can feel the immediate effects of these toxic chemicals almost instantly. These include:
- Burning sensation in the air tracts and lungs.
- Dizziness and headaches.
- Stomach aches and vomiting.
And of course, the long-term implications are even more worrying. Even though children are the most sensitive o their effects, adults who expose themselves to these chemicals are not safe either.
Here are some statistics:
- 41% of Tru green ChemLawn’s products contain ingredients that are banned in other countries.
- More than half (53%) of the TruGreen lawn care substances are defined as carcinogens by the USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and the IARC (World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer).
- At least 30% of their lawncare treatments act as endocrine disruptors in humans and animals.
- Almost 30% of the TruGreen lawn care treatments have at least one ingredient that is notorious or suspected for interfering with the reproductive system and fetus development.
- 100% of the lawn treatments have ingredients that affect non-targeted insects and plants, water supplies, and aquatic organisms, thus threatening the environment. They can directly and indirectly affect your family’s health.
The fact that a substance, be it organic or synthetic, can kill you slowly instead of instantly shouldn’t make it tolerated.
So What ChemLawn Products to Stay Away from?
This question is more difficult than you would think. Tru Green does not list most of the ingredients in their pesticides and chemicals. They hide their intriguing and straight up dangerous practices by calling their recipes a trade secret. No matter how we look at it, this does not seem a fair practice. What if restaurants did the same thing and listed the ingredients and allergens you consumed on your bill, well after your meal was served? Would that be considered a trade secret as well?
At first sight, their “TruHealth” and “TruNatural” plans seem to be the safest. However, it’s difficult to assert if they do not pose any threats to the environment, children, adults, or pets since they do not list their products, left alone their ingredients.
In addition, just because an ingredient is 100% natural or organic does not mean it is also 100% safe. After all, the world’s most potent poisons and toxins can be freely found in nature. And yes, this includes carcinogens or water polluters. The thing is, though, these substances have little to no effects as standalone components in a plant or animal since the quantities are infinitely smaller. But natural and organic pesticides include high concentrations which are bound to show their mark in the long run.
Here are the most common ingredients that endanger our lives and wellbeing:
- Reproduction and fetus development: Dicamba, Myclobutanil, and Bifenthrin.
- Carcinogens: Naphthalene, Prodiamine, MCPA & MCPP, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (in short: 2,4-D), Pendimethalin, Carbaryl, Bifenthrin,
- Endocrine disruptors: Prodiamine, 2,4-D, Pendimethalin, Carbaryl, Bifenthrin.
Why Tru Green Still Is a Growing Business
The main reason is most customers do not enquire on what products they use. Those who do quickly find out the dangers they expose themselves to. However, the company is making it more and more difficult to assert which specific chemicals they use by not listing them at all on their website or providing superficial information. We also discovered that many of the articles that were published in the last few months about their negative effects have mysteriously disappeared from the web.
Secondly, ChemLawn and, later, True Green, managed to convince a large amount of the public that having a healthy and presentable lawn is basically impossible without using a wide array of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
Last but not least, ChemLawn is an extensive business that spreads all over North America. Thus, it enjoys more popularity and is able to market itself on a completely different level than local lawn care companies. They are also able to provide complete services at lower costs. Because they have so many locations and in many cases monopoly, customers feel like they don’t have a choice. But they do, and so do you. And we’re not talking about choosing a different company.
But What Else Can I Do?
True Green is the largest lawn care provider in the U.S., but it is far from being the only one to still use toxic chemicals. Although choosing the lesser evil seems like a valid choice, how about we fight nature the natural way?
There are plenty of plants and insects that help you fight pests and provide the right amount of pH in the soil. In addition, every weed you want to remove sends you a valuable message you can use to improve the soil’s quality. Dandelions, for example, thrive in areas high in calcium.
And if you want a resistant lawn that will not be spotted after a week of being away on vacation, try watering it less. This will force the plants to grow deeper roots where moisture is not as volatile as just an inch away from the surface. Another simple yet efficient technique is to mow your lawn high and leave the clippings for fertilization. Thus, the grass will be able to photosynthesize more efficiently and grow deeper roots, leaving less space for weeds.
A Short Recap
Chem lawn / Tru Green seems to have straightened up its practices when compared to a few years ago. However, they seem to be far from being truly green. The company is very private about their products and ingredients, only listing them on a customer’s bill – therefore, after the product has been applied. Do you want to use their service only to find out later their ingredients can have devastating consequences?
But if we really think about it, the problem goes much deeper. Although unethical, these practices are not illegal – and this is what should worry us the most. After all, if ChemLawn has been doing it for all these years, what’s stopping other lawn care companies from doing the same?