Re: “Maine Voices: Healthy lawns nurtured with synthetic fertilizers filter pollutants” (Dec. 19):

A corporate lawn care company talking about the benefits of lawn chemicals has about as much credibility as a tobacco company talking about the benefits of cigarettes.

Pesticides are not safe. Every year, more studies find that pesticide exposure, even at low levels, can cause serious health problems. It’s especially dangerous for children: Their bodies are still developing, and they get a comparatively higher dose of any toxin in their environment than adults do.

The environmental impacts of synthetic fertilizers are similarly bleak. Our outgoing baykeeper, Joe Payne, rightly identified nitrogen from fertilizer runoff as the primary threat to the environmental health of Casco Bay.

Thankfully, chemical lawn care, just like smoking, is increasingly viewed as an expensive and dangerous throwback. Just last month, the Portland City Council signed a proclamation honoring the volunteers who created the YardScaping Gardens at Back Cove.

YardScaping is an environmentally safe alternative to the turf grass monoculture promoted by fertilizer and pesticide companies. There’s a helpful state website (www.yardscaping.org) for homeowners who want to keep their yards beautiful, their kids safe and their environment healthy.

And, of course, quitting lawn chemicals makes a lot of financial sense, which might be the most convincing argument of all.