Backyard Hazards: Your Best Bets for Survival

backyardBlack Tar Driveways

A smooth black driveway may be easy to drive on and spray down, but the black coal tar sealants may contain concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Coal tar sealants have been banned in some cities.  The research on this is still pretty new, so we can’t say that these types of driveways cause cancer, but scientists suspect a strong link.

  1. Your best bet – your safest bet – is to stick to natural pavement or pavers or asphalt-based sealant.
  2. If you’ve already sealed your driveway with black tar sealant, just remember that the concentrations of PAHs are stronger in the first two weeks after sealing. Stay off your driveway as much as you can in those first weeks.
  3. Shoes can track in the chemicals, so remove them at the door. Regular vacuuming can help minimize the chemicals as well.

Pesticides for Lawn and Backyard

If you garden or farm, you know pesticides are a necessary evil. But those pesticides that are widely available in stores can be powerful and must be properly handled. The ingredients have been linked to cancer, hormonal changes, and toxicity in the liver or kidney. But did you know they also cause a much higher risk of depression?

  1. When possible, go with all-natural herbicides to fight weeds.
  2. Spray herbicides in early spring to prevent annual weeds from reseeding and to give your lawn a healthy shot of nitrogen
  3. Skip daily watering. This strengthens your lawn’s root system and helps it fight weeds better. If you can, deep-irrigate your grass weekly or so.

One last tip: If you use a lawn company, you have the right to request labels for any products they use on your lawn.

Here’s to healthy backyard living!

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