Q: My neighbor has one of those lawn services that comes and sprays chemicals on her lawn. Those signs left on the lawns make me worry- should I be concerned for my own health? A: Some recent research suggests that some of the active ingredients used in pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are more harmful to humans and other animals than previously thought. More importantly, even small doses of these substances, when mixed together in the environment, can cause dramatically harmful effects on animal development. What happens is that these chemicals create slight disruptions in the endocrine system (hormone production and regulation), which affects the way organisms develop everything from their fingers to their reproductive organs. We’re not sure whether these substances have the same effect on humans. But we do know that our bodies are regulated by very similar hormonal systems. So I would recommend asking your neighbor why they use the lawn service. Do they really need a pesticide treatment? Folks, although the mosquitoes can be a bit bothersome at times, the potential effects of a pesticide or herbicide on our environment are a lot worse. In reality, the chemicals they spray often have very little if any effect on the green-ness or number of insects on your lawn. Suggest to your neighbor that they try an organic pesticide or herbicide, or nothing at all. I bet their lawn will live up to the challenge. Need an answer to an ecological question? Send your inquiries to: belle.bergner@earthlink.net