Governor Hochul: Ban this toxic nicotine-based pesticide

Pollinator bee on Goldenrod - Photo National Park Service
Photo: National Park Service

Nicotine-based pesticides (neonics) came onto the market nearly thirty years ago. Since then, research has concluded that the increase in their use is leading to significant declines in insect populations, particularly important pollinators such as domestic and wild honey bees.

This spring, the New York State legislature passed a ban on one of the more insidious uses of this class of pesticides: coating of soy, corn, and wheat seeds. Now, the agrochemical industry is pressuring Governor Hochul to veto this important legislation. To protect our health and the Hudson River, we need your help urging Governor Hochul to sign the legislation into law.

It's not only bees that are affected. These pesticides are highly soluble, making them prone to running off into nearby watersheds and effortlessly entering drinking water reservoirs. Research has shown that neonicotinoids (neonics) can persist even after standard water treatment processes. As they enter water bodies, they become consumed by various invertebrates, causing detrimental impacts on a wide array of aquatic species, disrupting food chains, and jeopardizing entire aquatic ecosystems.

Over the past 15 years, there has been a notable nationwide surge in neonic usage, including within New York. In 2014 alone, the state of New York witnessed the application of a substantial 70 to 76 tons of neonics. Disturbingly, these pesticides have been detected in the Hudson River estuary. An illustrative case from Japan highlights the dire consequences of neonics, where the introduction of the common neonic, imidacloprid, led to the complete collapse of a local fishery.

Governor Hochul holds the authority to safeguard the well-being of New Yorkers and the ecological health of the Hudson River. Today, she can take nation-leading action by signing the Birds and Bees Protection Act (A7640/S1856A) into law.


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