Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

A SMALL POLLINATOR, A BIG PROBLEM — Millions of bees are dying off every year, and scientists point to a widely used class of pesticides as one of the main causes.

Our Food Supply Relies On Bees

We have to stop the bee die-off and help this vitally important species recover, for the sake of our food, the environment and our economy. 

Bees are dying in the United States and around the world, and it’s a major problem. We rely on bees to pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90 percent of the world’s food. In the U.S. alone, honey bees pollinate an estimated $15 billion worth of crops every year.

We rely on bees to pollinate everything from strawberries to broccoli to the alfalfa used to feed dairy cows. Imagine no almonds, less coffee and chocolate, fewer apples and strawberries, less ice cream and milk … the list goes on.

The bottom line: without bees, we don’t have food.

OUR FAVORITE FOODS — Bees play an important role in pollinating some of our favorite foods, from strawberries and apples to almonds and coffee.

10,000 Times More Toxic To Bees Than DDT 

Scientists point to pesticides as one of the main factors causing bees to die off in alarming numbers, in particular a class of bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids (or neonics). 

When seeds are treated with neonics, the chemicals work their way into the pollen and nectar of the plants — which, of course, is bad news for bees and other pollinators. 

Worse, neonics are at least 5,000-10,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT. 

Just one example: After a nearby farm planted corn seeds coated with neonics in 2013, farmer Dave Schuit lost 37 million of his bees. “Once the corn started to get planted, our bees died by the millions,” said Schuit. 

UNPRECEDENTED LOSSES — In recent years, beekeepers report they’re losing an average 30 percent of all honey bee colonies each winter, twice the amount considered sustainable.

We Can Eliminate These Pesticides

Given the consequences for our farms and our food, you’d think we’d be doing all we can to protect bees and other pollinators from neonics. 

Scientists say that we don’t even need to spray these chemicals, since we have commonsense alternatives like altering the time of planting and watering, and planting more native species. 

Yet big agrichemical companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Bayer and Syngenta are fighting to prevent bans. Syngenta has even asked federal regulators for permission to use even larger quantities of these pesticides — as much as 400 times more than currently allowed. 

Alarmed by the role these chemicals are playing in the decline of bee populations, the European Union has banned several of them; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has committed to phasing them out on the public lands they manage; and cities like Seattle and states like Maryland have taken action as well. 

Still, even with evidence showing that neonics need to be banned, we continue to spray about 46 million pounds of these pesticides on our homes, gardens and public spaces every year. 

NO SAFE PLACE FOR A BEE TO EXIST — According to a recent study, about three quarters of all honey worldwide is contaminated with pesticides known to harm bees.

It’s Time For States To Take Action

For the past several years, PIRG and other groups have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban these pesticides nationwide, and they have failed to do so. We’re not waiting on the EPA any longer. Now, to protect bees and our food supply, we're calling on states to act. 

In order to restore bee populations to health and save our food supply, we need states to ban the sale of bee-killing pesticides for our homes, parks and gardens and ensure that they are not used on state property. 

If enough states take action, we will eliminate the use of more than 40 percent of insecticides used in this country. That’s a lot of bees that we can save — bees that will pollinate our food. 

That kind of collective action will be a strong signal to large chemical companies and the federal government that we want them to stop poisoning our parks, homes and food with these products. 

Right now, we’re spraying chemicals that are known to kill bees just as we’re in the midst of an unsustainable die-off in bee populations. That has to change — now. 

Join us in calling on Gov. Baker to take action to protect bees and our food. 

Issue updates

News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Back-to-school toolkit helps parents get the lead out of drinking water

With children across Massachusetts heading back to school this week, MASSPIRG offered a new toolkit to help parents, teachers, and administrators get lead out of schools’ drinking water.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Back to School Kit

Our children need safe drinking water – especially at school where they go to learn and play each day.  Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country and here in Massachusetts.

> Keep Reading

Statement on P&G’s Consumer Product Fragrance Disclosure Announcement

MASSPIRG applauds consumer product giant Procter & Gamble, the maker of brands like Olay, Old Spice, and Pampers, for its announcement today that it will increase fragrance ingredient transparency in all of its consumer brands.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Public Health, Antibiotics

McDonald’s Changes Meat Supply Guidelines to Stem Spread of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

In response to the health risks posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, McDonald’s has announced it is implementing new targets for cutting antibiotic use in the global chicken supply, and plans to expand its commitment to fewer antibiotics in pork and beef.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health, Health Care

Our Statement on the Failure of the US Senate Health Care Bill

American consumers can breathe a sigh of relief today. The legislation that was narrowly defeated in the US Senate last night threatened to spark chaos in health insurance markets, raise costs, degrade quality of care, weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and cause millions of Americans to lose health coverage.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Cummings: A victory for all but the bacteria

Subway announcement is a big win for public health and represents a huge step toward preserving the effectiveness of life-saving antibiotics.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Food

Consumer Group, Activists Hold ‘Thank You’ Events in Front of Subway

On October 20th Subway announced that it is making the shift to serving meat raised without antibiotics. The sandwich giant will serve only antibiotic free chicken by the end of 2016, with a shift on turkey by 2019, and pork and beef completed by 2025. The decision came in anticipation of a petition delivery to headquarters of more than 270,000 petition signatures by MASSPIRG staff and other advocacy groups. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Food

MA Residents Turn Out in Large Numbers for GMO Labeling Hearing on Beacon Hill

Today, residents from across the Commonwealth filled the Gardner Auditorium of the State House to testify in support of  legislation that would ensure that all foods sold in Massachusetts that contain genetically engineered ingredients be clearly labeled. The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture held a public hearing for H. 3242 - An Act establishing the genetic engineering transparency food and seed labeling act.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Public Health

Subway needs hard plan for going antibiotic-free

MASSPIRG's David Melly calls on Subway to stop serving meat raised with antibiotics in a letter to the Cape Cod Times.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON – The Massachusetts state legislature has approved the 2019 Supplemental Budget, and for the first time, it provides money for schools to tackle the growing problem of lead in school drinking water. The budget is now on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.

 

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- Governor Baker signed a critical bill today aimed at stemming the youth vaping epidemic. “An Act to Modernize Tobacco Control” is the first state law that prohibits the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and chewing tobacco. It’s a major step to protect youth because four out of five kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product. The bill passed both houses of the legislature by an overwhelming majority.

Blog Post

Get ready for some alarming stories—and they're all the more alarming because they're true.

On Nov. 14, U.S. PIRG and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) of George Washington University launched "Superbugs Unplugged," a podcast that will dive into the alarming issue of antibiotic resistance and how we can slow it. Matt Wellington, our Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics campaign director, is co-hosting the podcast, along with Dr. Lance Price of ARAC. 

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- By an overwhelming majority, (32-6)  the Massachusetts Senate passed a critical bill last night aimed at stemming the youth vaping epidemic. “An Act to Modernize Tobacco Control” would ban flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and chewing tobacco. It’s a critical step to protect youth because four out of five kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product. The bill is now on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk.

Blog Post

Testifying before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, MASSPIRG urged for swift passage of two important public health bills, H. 763, An Act to protect Massachusetts pollinators and HB​ 763,​ ​An​ ​Act​ ​to​ ​protect​ ​Massachusetts​ ​pollinators.

Public Health

Ban Roundup

As cancer victims hold Monsanto accountable in court, governors should act to ban Roundup unless and until it's proven safe.

 

Public Health | MASSPIRG

MASSPIRG-backed bill promises to get lead out of school drinking water

Children would be better protected against lead contamination in schools and daycare centers under a MASSPIRG-backed bill being considered by state lawmakers. MASSPIRG Legislative Director Deirdre Cummings testified in favor of the bipartisan bill on Oct. 2.

 

Public Health | U.S. PIRG

Get the lead out

The kids are back at school. How do we make sure their water is safe to drink?

 

Public Health | U.S. PIRG

Ban Roundup

Rather than require warning labels for Roundup, the Trump administration is moving to prohibit them.

 
View AllRSS Feed

Support Us

Your donation supports MASSPIRG's work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code
CLOSE
Poll: Which of these positive changes do you most want to see in 2020?
More restaurant chains commit to stopping their overuse of antibiotics.
Stop using Roundup, which has been linked to cancer, on our parks and playgrounds.
Ban the worst single-use plastics.



MASSPIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.