Ask Your State Officials to Protect Pollinators

Since 2006, honey bees and other pollinators in the U.S. and throughout the world have experienced ongoing and rapid population declines. This ongoing crisis threatens the stability of ecosystems, the economy, and our food supply: one in three bites of food is dependent on pollinator services.

>> Tell your elected state officials to stop the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that are harming pollinators and aquatic life.

The preponderance of independent science links a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids (or neonics) with the dramatic decline of pollinators and other wildlife. Bees, butterflies, birds, and a range of soil and aquatic organisms essential to healthy ecological systems are imperiled by the use of these systemic and persistent pesticides. Systemic pesticides are chemicals that can be taken up by the vascular system of a plant, and then expressed throughout the plant, including pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets, indiscriminately exposing target pests and non‐target organisms alike.

A comprehensive assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirms that neonicotinoids, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, pose risks to honey bees and wild pollinators. EFSA analyzed over 1,500 studies from academia, beekeeper associations, chemical companies, farmer groups, non-governmental organizations, and national regulators. EFSA’s risk assessment provides a definitive, independent conclusion that overall, continued use of these chemicals risks the long-term health of pollinator populations.

>> Tell your elected state officials to stop the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that are harming pollinators and aquatic life.

Over the past year, major actions in Europe and Canada have been taken to ban or restrict the use of neonicotinoids. After the European Union (EU) instituted its initial moratorium on neonic applications to flowering crops in 2013, accumulated research led to a permanent extension of this ban to include all outdoor uses of these systemic insecticides in May 2018. Canadian regulators have issued interim decisions on several neonicotinoids, with recommendations that will significantly curtail their uses, but the country has stopped short of banning the chemicals all together.

In the United States, EPA issued very minor changes to neonicotinoid product labels in 2013, but has yet to take substantive action to restrict use. President Obama created a National Pollinator Health Strategy with a number of lofty goals, but there is no indication that the Trump Administration is continuing this work. However, state level action has been seen in Connecticut and Maryland, where consumer uses of neonicotinoids have been eliminated.

>> Tell your state legislators to follow the lead of Maryland and Connecticut. Maryland and Connecticut residents, please send a thank you to your representatives.

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