Remember a time when smoking in restaurants, offices, buses and airplanes were normal? We paid attention to public health sciences, we changed our culture and now we are better for it.

We are now in the same situation with a culture that is at ease with spraying lawns for cosmetic purposes. It is well-known, based on ample evidence, that lawn weed killers pose unacceptable risks to child health and also pollute local streams. Managing turf areas without weed killers is easy, practical, and will not harm anyone. It is time to change our attitude about lawns.

A team of students and faculty at University of Northern Iowa have launched Good Neighbor Iowa, a statewide campaign to invite school districts, park managers and childcare centers to manage their grounds without the use of cosmetic weed killers, to protect child health and water quality.

Many communities are already leading this important cultural transformation based on science. 

Brock Hefel

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Editor’s note: Hefel is a member of the UNI Conservation Corps

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