• Page A3 headline, The Portland Press Herald (May 17): “Study links ADHD with pesticides.”

• General inquiry: “Where have all the songbirds gone?”

• Researchers pursue possible reasons for the seeming increase in asthma cases.

• Are pollen and other allergies becoming more prevalent?

My question: Are too many of the above and other observations related to the suggested reason in the first?

Take a walk down the home and garden aisles of the local hardware, building supply or landscaping and plant store. Look carefully at the items for sale and read some of the labels.

One will find multiple applications for killing ants, moles, grubs, mosquitoes, Japanese beetles, termites, ticks, fleas, nematodes and “a multitude of other pests.” The labels don’t mention bees, nature’s natural pollinator, or earthworms, the best cultivators one can use to aerate lawns.

Let us not ignore the list of fungicides, many times included in the general-purpose kill-all sprays, with the application attitude of “if it moves, spray it.”

“This item has been tested and approved for the use where people may be frequenting. However, after applying, shower thoroughly and stay away from the treated area for several hours.”

What’s that got to do with the songbirds? Well, what do robins and their offspring eat? What do most other wild birds eat? Insects; they cannot distinguish if they are poisoned or not. Don’t worry about the robins — the earthworms are all dead and gone, so they won’t be any bother.

Any new imports couldn’t make their way up through the concrete anyway, and the rainwater cannot penetrate as fast to make for muddy lawns. It just runs off more quickly and causes flash flooding.

This is the modern, “lie on the lounge and watch ’em die” system.

Mow the grass short, take the organic clippings to the trash bin and spread the chemicals to make the grass grow. The modern “recycling” system.

John Labrecque


Spraying pesticides should not be allowed. People who use lawn chemicals do not understand the health risks. The risk is not just for themselves but for the rest of the world as well.

Pesticides attack the central nervous system. This can be deadly and affect humans and animals.

People who are exposed to pesticides can have blurred vision, stomach symptoms, headaches and chest-pain. They can develop numbness. Another side effect can be asthma-like attacks and learning disabilities. People living in houses that use lawn chemicals are at higher risk.

One of the chemicals most commonly used in lawn pesticides is 2, 4-D, also known as Agent Orange. This was used by the U.S. military in a herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War.

The chemical 2, 4-D is very carcinogenic, which means it causes cancer. The problem is that people are spraying their lawns with unnecessary chemicals to have their lawn look “good,” and people are getting sick.

A Centers for Disease Control study, involving 9,282 people across the nation, found pesticides in the blood and urine of each participant.

Nineteen out of the 30 commonly used chemicals are linked to cancer, and 13 out of 30 are linked to birth defects. The most concerning thing is that 17 out of 30 are detected in groundwater!

More than 1 million pounds of pesticides are used each year by American homeowners. All these pesticides eventually go into the groundwater.

Pesticides are clearly bad for our environment, our planet and ourselves. Pesticides cause health problems and are now in people and the environment. Pesticides should be regulated by the government.

Is the risk worth taking for a green lawn?

Jake Inger

Student, Harrison Middle School


By flouting city’s rules, dog owners spoil picnic

My 2-year-old and I have enjoyed East End Beach on several mornings in the past few weeks. One recent incident put an abrupt end to such mornings!

As we sat down for our picnic, several large dogs raced toward us and circled our towel before I shooed them away. The owners said nothing and made no attempt to redirect their dogs.

Quickly, the four dogs returned and grabbed my daughter’s lunch out of her hand. I was able to whisk her away from them as they devoured the remainder of our picnic lunch.

Then one pooch lifted its leg and urinated on our cooler bag. Meanwhile, the owners stood several feet away without attempting to call the dogs.

As I hastily tried to gather my baby and our things, the dogs continued to circle us, looking for more food. Of course, the other dogs gathered to sniff the fresh urine on our cooler, making it even more difficult to pack up.

I called out, “Whose dogs are these?” and only one man replied: “Not mine.” He went on to suggest that if I “didn’t like dogs,” then I should go to a different location.

Finally, after I yelled toward the owner of two of the dogs to get his dogs away from us, he remarked, “You might want to wait to come here after next week.”

I am still utterly shocked at the irresponsible pet owners who I encountered. I would like to remind all of them that according to the city of Portland, it is their responsibility to have their dogs on voice command even during the designated dates that dogs can be off leash.

East End Beach is for everyone — let’s try to play nice in nature’s sandbox.

Amy Eubanks


Motorists in Lake Region paying too much at pump

As consumers and custodians of our free enterprise system, we need to do a better job in Windham and Raymond.

On June 1, most gas in this area was $2.85 per gallon, while it was $2.79 in Westbrook and, of all places, $2.81 on the Maine Turnpike.

We need to buy our gas when we are out of town and remind Lake Region gas stations that it can be a cold winter without us and the vacationers!

Ernie Ryder