Monday, October 28, 2013

The Grass Isn't Always Greener

This blog is rapidly becoming a catch-all for my rapidly
--> bourgeoning, multi-faceted life. It may be that I am the only one reading this but that's ok. The purpose the blog will serve today (and maybe in the upcoming weeks and months) is a place where I can process my thoughts concerning something that happened almost a month ago. Here it is:
I live directly east of a city park that has been well-loved by my family for all the 13+ years we have lived here. The city takes exceptional care in maintaining the grounds and facilities which directly enhances the quality of our neighborhood. Three weeks ago, however, I was outside in my back yard on a windy day and noticed a crew from TruGreen lawn care (a company the city contracts?) begin to spray the park lawn with some kind of liquid chemical. The wind caught it and blew it over into my yard, into my face, onto my skin, in my eyes and throat all which immediately started to burn. I ran inside and  washed my face and rinsed out my eyes but my throat burned for the rest of the day. I called the city right away to complain and got a phone call the following week from Joel Evans who works for the Parks and Rec department. He told me that the crew should have posted signs advising the neighbors of the application (they didn't), were not supposed to be spraying on a windy day (they were) and should have posted signs afterward to warn people to keep off the grass until the application had dried. They did. Here is what their signs looked like:

What? You don't see them? Look hard in the bottom right hand corner. There's a small white speck near the white street signs.  Don't feel bad if you didn't notice—none of the kids walking home from school that day did either. Nor did any of the neighbors' dogs and cats and the rest of the wildlife that make their home there. Oh wait, they don't read. I guess the groundwater doesn't either, for that matter. Nor my strawberry patch, my herb and vegetable garden nor my chickens.

Up close, here is what the sign looks like:
Again, in case you can't see it, the fine print says, "Please stay off the grass until dry." And, on the chance that I see the sign, how am I supposed to test for dryness? By touching it? I love how it says "lawn care application" instead of "toxic and carcinogenic chemical application". Seeing how that's the case, they should have posted signs on my body and all over my property as well to indicate chemical application. How about I put up a huge sign the next time they roll into the neighborhood that says, "Please stay off until you can prove you are no longer toxic".

 I generally don't like resorting to sarcasm but I'm doing it here to make a point.This experience is raising all sorts of questions for me surrounding my personal right to maintain and guard my good health.

I contacted TruGreen the same day to get copies of the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the products they use and was told to google it. Joel called them personally and asked them to send me the information. I was called immediately by a rep who left a message. I called him back and am still waiting for him to return my call.

In the meantime, today I called my district representative Scott Cowdell (for whom the park has been recently named) and who also lives in this neighborhood. Scott has a long history of civic service and has been personally invested in our neighborhood for decades and so I anticipate a productive conversation with him. In the very least, I expect he will be able to tell me what the next level of taking my concern is.

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