How Your Lawn Can Kill You
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How Your Lawn Can Kill You

While you may think that yard work is killing you, there are ten ways that your lawn can actually kill you. Thick green lawns can the perfect habitat for deadly fungi, stinging insects, poisonous reptiles and hazardous cancerous chemicals. Every year thousands of are injured or killed by injuries from taking care of their lawns, insect and snake bites, and even chronic illnesses like Lyme disease and cancer. This article will illustrate the potential dangers of doing and not doing lawn work.

While you may think that yard work is killing you, there are ten ways that your lawn can actually kill you. Thick green lawns can the perfect habitat for deadly fungi, stinging insects, poisonous reptiles and hazardous cancerous chemicals.

Mowing Dangers

Around 80,000 Americans go to the hospital each year from lawnmower accidents. The most common cause is when a flying projectile is ejected from the lawnmower and ricochets off another object and strikes someone. Other injuries include fractured or severed hands and feet. The majority of lawnmower injuries happen to children younger than 15 and adults over 60.

If you want your children to help mow your lawn make sure the mower has a bar that automatically turns off the engine once they let go of the handle. Some riding mowers are engineered to sense changes of weight, turning themselves off when you dismount.

Hazardous Lawn Chemicals

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, homeowners use 10 times more pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use in their fields.  Pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and other lawn chemicals are associated with symptoms ranging from breathing problems to certain types of cancers in humans.

Fire Ants

In most cases the sting of a fire ant is painful, but not lethal. Fire ant stings have a burning sensation that can be treated with over-the-counter ointments, but every year there are several fatalities resulting from fire ant stings, due to either an allergic reaction to the ants' venom or a high number of stings to the recipient.


A little known fact about ticks is that they only need a drop of blood a year to survive. There are more than 800 species of ticks and a few of them can carry potentially fatal diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks keep out of direct sunlight and prefer more shaded areas. To reduce the risk of tick bites wear shoes and socks while doing yard work. 


There are roughly 8,000 venomous snakebites in the United States every year. An overgrown lawn is an excellent habitat for venomous snakes such as rattlesnakes and copperheads. Snakes do not like open spaces so the best way to keep snakes out of your lawn is to keep it well mowed. Snakes tend to hide out in woodpiles and wooded areas.

Dog and Cat Feces

By not removing dog and cat feces from your lawn you might be putting your entire family at risk of acquiring intestinal worms. Roundworms are often found in dog feces and can easily inhabit the area of your lawn where they go to the bathroom. If you pick up something that has come into contact with the infected soil and then you touch your mouth you can become infected. The roundworms travel to the intestines, lay their eggs, and spread throughout the body leading to breathing trouble, weight loss and diarrhea. Roundworms can cause ocular larva migrans, which occur when larvae attack the retina, leading to blindness. A study conducted in a pediatric hospital in the 1970s found that 37 percent of the children admitted with retinal disease tested positive for the larva.

When soil or plants become contaminated with cat feces and then come in contact with your mouth, it can lead to toxoplasmosis. While not fatal, it can lead to fever and enlarged lymph nodes in the head or neck. The risks are greatest for pregnant women, who can pass on congenital toxoplasmosis to their babies. A child born with toxoplasmosis can have learning disabilities as well as problems with their vision and hearing and seizures later in life.


Most people know that mushrooms and toadstools that grow in your lawn are most likely poisonous, but over 90 percent of the weeds in North America are edible. If you have young children who may put things in their mouths, keep them away from mushrooms and reinforce the dangers of wild mushrooms with your older children.

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Comments (5)

The biggest risk, I think, is that of the chemicals on our lawns, which wash into the rivers, lakes, and oceans, killing corals and other life.  In my area the chemicals people use on their lawns are killing the lake - turning it green, killing the fish and feeding the aglae.


Thank you for your wisdom and willingness to publish this with such care.

Very well written and interesting information. I liked the way you address this issue. Wonderful article.

Well done and I've never liked lawns.  I put in gardens and trees instead.

Very interesting piece of work.  Thanks for sharing.