Healthy Living

Faking It? Get to Know Grass Turf

beagle on grass turf eco organic healthy lawn optionsA straggly, mushy, pee-stained lawn was the bane of my existence for a long time. The grass turf gets very little sun, and the combination of that plus my elderly incontinent dog made the lawn something that I avoided walking through—let alone encouraging my children to play on.

So I jumped on the artificial grass turf bandwagon in a big way, encouraged by landscapers who emphasized the water savings and probably didn’t know much about the true environmental impacts.

Lawn chemicals are linked to bladder cancer in dogs. Thankfully, my husband put his foot down, because I know now that the recycled rubber typically used underneath artificial turf contains some pretty toxic chemicals, not to mention the fact that the heat on an artificial grass turf field can rise to more than 170 degrees on a hot day.

So maybe that straggly grass turf isn’t so bad after all. But I won’t resort to so-called “miracle” lawn chemicals to enhance it, especially since a recent study linked those to bladder cancer in dogs. Once on their paws, dogs lick the chemicals to ingest them, and expose their owners when they transfer the chemicals to floors and furniture.

My beautiful 18-year-old lab has passed on, but I still have the little Chihuahua—not to mention my family—to protect.

What’s the solution? I’m trying out low grow, no mow natural grass turf like Ecology Lawn Seed. So far it’s still pretty straggly, but at least I know it’s safe.

Ridiculously cute beagle photo: Discovery News


  • Sandra Garratt

    Thanks for this important information…..too late for my beloved Flat Coat Retriever who suffered cancer after spending a summer of intense exposure to lawn chemicals & fake turf. He would actually run in the house and jump in the bath barking to be washed which was not normal for him. Then when I was caring for my parent in SO.Cal. I noticed the gardeners spraying toxic weed chemicals, the management said that was not true but I spoke to the gardeners and they showed me what they were using which was poison. At the end of the summer my super healthy English Setter suddenly could not move and suddenly had a serious thyroid condition….there was also a lot of fake turf and the temps there were well over 100′ so you can imagine what the fake turf temp was….my dogs would walk around it which tells you something. Skip the boots and just wash their feet as soon as you return home(like you do in the winter in the NY for example, w/ all the salt & ice melting chemicals they spread on the sidewalks) and do not let them graze on that poisoned grass. Dog cancer rates are growing like crazy and one has to stop and wonder why. When I was growing up in S. Cal I never heard of a dog w/ cancer, now it seems the #1 cause of death or kidney failure which is also due to toxins…dogs are small like kids and are more vulnerable then adult humans, they deserve our protection. Also make sure that the gardeners or home owners are not using Roundup weed killer from Monsanto as it is also a very dangerous product w/ a very sinister aspect to it as well. Just say no to Monsanto!

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      OH I am SO sorry Sandra! I lost my Sugar two years ago and it still makes me so sad. I just have to remember what a beloved life she had–it sounds like yours did, too. Thank you for sharing this. We really do have to protect them just as we do our kids 🙂

  • Matt Steiner

    I used to play soccer in the summer time on those turf fields. The fiery hot rubber would get stuck in my sliding shorts – not fun!

    I didn’t know that some synthetic fertilizers were dangerous to doggies. Should people worry about walking their dogs on lawns that may contain these chemicals? Or is it mostly an issue of repeated exposure?


    • Rachel Sarnoff

      That sounds painful, Matt! Here is the link to the study where they identify the exact chemicals that are linked to cancer in dogs; they also say that certain breeds are more susceptible. I walk my dog in our neighborhood and she also sleeps on top of our bed, which now that I think of it is pretty gross. I think if you want to take it the whole nine, you might want to get those crazy looking dog shoes. But I will probably just wipe off her paws before she comes in, from now on.

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Yes of course! Sorry those links should’ve been there in the first place. The first is to a Las Vegas story and the heat recorded was actually 170 degrees! The recycled “rubber crumbs” are the subjects of several stories; I’ve added the link to the EHHI page that sums that up. Hope this helps!

    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Yes, maybe but also the water table underneath…? I added the missing link so you can see the studies. Thanks for reading!

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