Smoking Bad, Lawn Care Good

November 30, 2006 psipsina

Scotts Lawn Care Products recently fired someone because they found nicotine in his urine during random drug testing.  The company, apparently, has a strict anti-smoking policy because they want to “to improve employee wellness and drive down healthcare costs.”

I have three separate reactions to this, none of which make Scotts look so good. 

First, I used to think that I was the shrillest anti-smoking person alive.  Then I stared hearing people arguing with a straight face that, once people were banned from smoking in indoor workplaces, smoking should also be banned from public doorways and public streets.

Dear fellow non-smokers, would you just take a deep breath and hold it on your way into and out of the building, and let those poor addicts get on with the private business of killing themselves in the cold and rain while you go into your warm, dry, fresh office?  Learn when to declare victory.  If, like me, you live in state where smoking is banned in bars, you have won.  Let me reiterate that:  you have won when smoking is not allowed in bars.  This is the ne plus ultra.  So please, win graciously.  You get your home, your workplace, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, buses, subways, the laundromat, the movie theater, and the mall.  Let the smokers have their pathetic doorways.  Do you have to own the whole world?

Second, improving employee wellness rings hollow from a company that manufactures, not to put too fine a point on it, poisons.  I don’t know about you, but when I think of lawn care products, I think of those little flags with skull and crossbones that warn you to KEEP YOURSELF, YOUR CHILDREN, AND YOUR PETS AWAY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY.  So yeah, I can see how a lawn care company would be worried about the wellness of their employees.  I bet they test their employees’ urine for trifluralin, too.

Trifluralin is the active ingredient in Miracle-Gro® Garden Weed Preventer™, which is manufactured by Scotts. says it is a suspected carcinogen, cardiovascular or blood toxicant, developmental toxicant, endocrine toxicant, gastrointestinal or liver toxicant, reproductive toxicant, and skin or sense organ toxicant.  (Not unlike nicotine, now that I think of it, except that children can go into the store and buy Miracle-Gro®.) also ranks trifluralin in the worst 10% of compounds in its effects on the environment and human health.

And this is just one Scotts product that I picked at random.  I doubt trifluralin is the only chemical that Scotts employees handle that puts their lives in danger.  When Scotts stops manufacturing products like this, I will take seriously their claim that their anti-smoking policy is due to a concern for employee wellness.

Put another way, if you are old enough to understand the risks of working for Scotts, you are old enough to smoke. 

Third, lots of law-abiding people scoffed at civil libertarians who objected to drug testing in the workplace – if you don’t have anything to hide, why object?  Well, that slope just got quite a bit slipperier, now didn’t it?  Last I checked, smoking was still legal.  So who’s got something to hide now?  We all do, that’s who. 


Entry Filed under: civil liberties, current events, scotts lawn care, smoking

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Thoughts on Growing Older&hellip  | 

    […] the manager drags her patootie up to the front of the store.  I’m pretty anti-smoking, but I have my limits.  But I digress.)  Calling someone “old” is an insult, and “elderly” […]

  • 2. Steve Smith&hellip  | 

    Excellent post. I AM a smoker, so it’s refreshing to see a bit of rationality from the other side. You seem to be one of the few who actually grasps the larger issues at stake here. I don’t smoke cigarettes, but I do smoke a pipe, which I’m doing as I write this, in fact.



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