the film

Chemical Concerns

by Ann Lovejoy
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 12, 2006

To keep bats and other benign critters safe, it's best to garden without toxic chemicals. Indeed, all West Coast nurseries are now required to post consumer warnings about the dangers that seven common pesticides present for salmon.

Earlier this season, the Environmental Protection Agency distributed special "Salmon Hazard" signs to nurseries and garden centers. Such signs have in fact been required for several years now, but their placement has only recently been achieved as part of a legal settlement with consumer and salmon advocates.

Hundreds of common home and garden products contain these seven pesticides, all of which presently contaminate urban and rural streams and waterways and can harm salmon or salmon habitat. According to a court order, all pesticides with the ingredients malathion, carbaryl, 2,4-D, diazinon, diuron, triclopyr or trifluralin must carry the warning.

"People need to know that the choices they make in the pesticide aisle make a real difference in the health of our salmon runs," said Erika Schreder of the Washington Toxics Coalition.

"The 'salmon hazard' warnings will help consumers buying lawn and garden products make better choices for salmon and for their own families," she said.

Many people assume that if they don't live near a stream, they can use whatever chemical they chose.

The warning signs make it clear that this is not so, stating: "SALMON HAZARD: This product contains pesticides that may harm salmon or steelhead. Use of this product in urban areas can pollute salmon streams."

"Waterborne pesticides have long been a serious problem for salmon," says Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, a co-plaintiff in the case. "It is far better to keep these chemicals out of the river in the first place and much harder to clean up a river after the damage has been done."

The court also mandated significant no-spray buffers for 38 common pesticides along thousands of miles of salmon-supporting waters.

For more information on these seven chemicals and the damage they do, as well as information on pesticide-free gardening, visit the Washington Toxics Coalition Web site at and take a look at as well.

Ann Lovejoy, a Bainbridge gardener, is the author of several gardening books.
Chemical Concerns
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 12, 2006

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