Here is a pretty scary list of health effects documented by BeyondPesticides.org, a Washington based non-profit. Pesticides are anything that kills a pest: Herbicides, Insecticides and Fungicides primarily. You’ll notice from the list below that the health effects run the gamut from Cancer to Birth Defects.
Of course if you use these chemicals then being exposed to them can cause these health problems. But even if you run an organic home and garden it only takes a pesticide happy neighbor two miles upstream from you.
These chemicals get into the ground water and can move miles. They can even get into the wildlife, so for example the fish can become contaminated and you can eat the fish. The stuff gets everywhere. And with our current food production situation it is very common to get our food from hundreds of miles away, so even though you may live in a pesticide free community there is no telling where your food came from.
The bottom line: don’t ever use pesticides and be pretty vocal when you see others using them. There is absolutely no reason to use them.
And using them on a residential garden, say in Brooklyn, is absolute stupidity. Eco Brooklyn designs and installs natural gardens that are healthy and happy. They take little to no maintenance and definitely don’t need pesticides. The secret? Pretty simple: Plant local plants that have evolved over millions of years to be happy in the local environment. And mix them with other plants that they naturally like to grow with. As opposed to for example bringing in Kentucky Blue Grass (originally from Kentucky?) and forcing it to live as a monocrop in an environment that is naturally hostile to it.