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I feel awful...Don't know where else to go for support...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am going to cross-post in Life With A Babe since it also concerns my newborn, but I don't really know where this should go...


I am feeling absolutely unbelievably awful and anxious. I don't know if this is post-partum anxiety or if I really have reasons to be concerned. I'll tell my story, and let you guys tell me if Im crazy or not because I really can't decide what is reasonable....


So, I am staying at a friend's house while she is in China with her 9 year old son. I have a 3 year old and a newborn. Like most parents on here, I am super careful about pesticides/herbacides in my and my childrens' lives. As of three days ago I am feeling pretty bad. DH and I were sitting on the patio in the backyard having lunch when I saw through the bushes that the neighbor was spraying his whole lawn with one of those hand-held sprayer wands. I expressed some concern to DH about whether we should stay there or go inside (we were sitting about 25 feet away) and DH said that it was ok since he was spraying at the ground and we were far away. Then our dog ran into his yard and my DH asked the guy what he was spraying so he would know whether to wash off the dog or not. The neigbor said it was "weed killer". GREAT. So DH rinsed off the dog with the garden hose. 


Then today, three days later, I catch the nine year old and my three year old making a puddle with the hose pretty much on the guy's property and playing in the puddle with their hands. I strip my three year old down and give him a shower.....But now I can't stop thinking about the fact that he was playing in a puddle of the stuff potentially......


Is that all just anxiety or are any of these concerns valid? I feel crazy with worry. Would the herbicide he sprayed have absorbed in the three days? Is it possible that even though he was spraying at the ground we breathed that stuff in?


Help me think clearly....Or, I should say, pleas think clearly FOR me....


Thanks ahead of time! (Could use a hug.....)

post #2 of 11

You are fine, your kids are fine. Of course you need to be careful but it sounds like you are driving yourself crazy. It was a minimal exposure and people all over the world come in contact with these and worse chemicals on a daily basis. hug2.gif

post #3 of 11

I agree with PP.  A lot of those herbicides become innactive after 2-3 days.


If it would put your mind at ease, you could talk to a naturopath about it...I know my mom had lead poisoning from having old fillings and having them removed.  The Dr.s could not figure out what was going on but she was referred by a friend to a naturopath and he figured it out rigth away.  He put her on a controlled diet and supps to clear her system and she was much much better within two weeks.  I'm not saying this is necessary or you should worry, but if it's an option for you and it would ease your mind it wouldn't hurt. 

post #4 of 11

Well actually, the herbicides dont become inactive after 2-3 days (I'm an agriculturalist and an environmental toxicologist). He was spraying with 2,4-D most likely. Pretty heavy duty stuff. You have to worry about acute health issues and chronic. If your child didnt start vomiting or becoming dizzy or high heart rate right then and there then you have no acute issues to worry about. You do, however, have chronic exposure to worry about but, hate to say it, this is a lifelong issue and sadly it starts early (pre-natal) so your kid won't see effects from this until they're in their 40s/50s. What's done is done.

post #5 of 11

It stinks, but exposure to herbicides/ pesticides are unavoidable.  


The playgrounds, ball fields, athletic fields your children will use now and when they grow older are all sprayed to control weeds, etc.  Its ridiculous, but there's no way around it.  


Just know that you control as much as you can at home, and the rest is somewhat out of your hands.  Reducing their exposure at home is the best you can do!

post #6 of 11
Originally Posted by graciegal View Post

Well actually, the herbicides dont become inactive after 2-3 days (I'm an agriculturalist and an environmental toxicologist). 

Well, that is good to know!  Does it depend on the type or brand?  I'd read that on a label recently and assumed it was true.  Not that I'm looking to go spray happy, just trying to be more educated!!

post #7 of 11

The only way that these things really degrade is by microbes in the soil or by enzymes in your liver. 2,4-D can volitalize which means that it can go into the upper atmosphere with low humidity and high temperature. Here's a bit from the EPA on this:


"A complete database has been assembled for 2,4-D acid. The dissipation of 2,4-D appears to be dependent on oxidative microbial-mediated mineralization, photodegradation in water, and leaching. Data indicates that 2,4-D degrades rapidly in soils (half life = 6.2 days), degrades rapidly in aerobic aquatic environments (half life = 15 days), and is relatively persistent in anaerobic aquatic environments (half life ranges from 41 to 333 days). 2,4-D esters volatilize readily, particularly in conditions of high temperatures and low humidity."




Half-life means how much time it takes for a given amount of a substance to decrease by half.


The EPA site above is a good place to go to read a comprehensive database of what they know about the particular pesticide or herbicide youre wondering about.


Your label probably gave you a "re-entry" time of 48 hours, which means it's not acutely toxic after 48 hours, just because it has spread out in the atmosphere by then so it's not "as" toxic (which is silly but that's what label laws are for ya...)

In humans, the only way a herbicide after exposure can become "inactive" is through liver detoxification... some herbicides and pesticides we can break down pretty OK, others not well at all. My PhD is on DDT and to give you an example, I found DDT in humans at pretty high levels in their blood after DDT has been banned since 1979. Most pesticides and herbicides stick around in humans and animals for a very very long time.


Hope that helps!

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all of these! I just saw all the other responses. I actually asked the neighbor in passing what he was spraying in passing after I posted and he said Weed B Gon (So, yes, 2,4-D along with other crap that isn't even EPA controlled...). The volatilizing part is scary, as we were sitting a yard away while he was spraying. I hope no one breathed it in. But we all felt fine, so I'm guessing we're safe with the acute. My three year old was playing on the lawn three days after spraying in the puddle of water from the hose, so I'm thinking that not only would water dilute any residue, but that since I caught him after just a couple of minutes I know he didn't ingest it and whatever exposure he had would be through skin absorption.


But YES, that stuff is everywhere. It is used in parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and almost everyone's lawn in this country. We eat all organic and I avoid chemicals in my home, but the prevalence of this stuff just gives me extreme anxiety....Why are people so ignorant??...

post #9 of 11

I totally agree that most people have no idea about this stuff and dont want to know, either. I'm a college science professor and I cant tell you how many students (older ones, too, not just young students) have a "Dont ask, dont tell" attitude about learning this stuff. 

post #10 of 11

Ya know, when so many of us grow up in a culture of trying to make our lawns the prettiest and greenest (colorwise, ha ha!), its no surprise that many just use fertilizer and herbacides and pesticides as if its the thing you are SUPPOSED to do in your yard.


It frustrates me immensely now, as we live in a neightborhood where the lawns are so close together that when our neighbor fertilizes, it goes all over our driveway.  As soon as it rains, all of the runoff pools right in our driveway, creating these lovely puddles that DS wants to jump in.  sigh.  what to do?

post #11 of 11

There are chemical trespass laws in a lot of states, which means it's illegal for someone else's chemicals to trespass onto your property. Your county agriculture extension agent could let you know if your state has that law. Then, if you really want to do something about it, a lawyer would represent you for that. It should apply to residential, not just agricultural, but I am not 100% sure about that because I have only invoked it due to agricultural reasons.

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