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

Report | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND | Public Health

Get the Lead Out

New report highlights public health threats from drinking water in schools.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Public Health

Statement on Unilever’s Decision to Disclose Fragrance Ingredients in Personal Care Products

MASSPIRG applauds personal care product giant Unilever US, the maker of popular brands like Dove and Axe, for its announcement today that it will increase fragrance ingredient transparency in its personal care brands.

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

Starbucks Ditches Routine Use of Medically Important Antibiotics in Poultry

Starbucks announced a commitment today to serve only poultry raised without the routine use of medically important antibiotics in U.S. stores by 2020 after dialogue with Green Century Capital Management, a leader in environmentally responsible investing. The Seattle-based chain’s commitment may help push the meat industry further away from overusing life-saving medicines.

> Keep Reading

Statement on Procter & Gamble’s New Preservative Tracker in Personal Care Products

Personal care product giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) recently unveiled a new preservative tracker, which lets consumers know which preservatives are included in various categories of P&G’s products, such as baby wipes, skin care, and hair care products. Consumers can search the tracker by ingredient or by product type.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Calling for Big Action on Antibiotics in the Big Apple | Steve Blackledge

Last week, we were in New York City, where the United Nations General Assembly spent an entire day discussing antibiotic resistance, “the biggest threat to modern medicine.” Experts estimate that more than 700,000 people worldwide die from antibiotic-resistant infections each year, including 23,000 in the United States—a number that could grow to 10 million globally by 2050.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | MASSPIRG | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Stop the Superbugs:

MASSPIRG calls on President Obama to curb misuse and overuse of antibiotics.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Food

The Fight Continues to Label GMOs

Coalition of advocates in support of labeling foods  that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) announced that it will redouble its efforts to pass GMO labeling legislation in the next session. 

> Keep Reading

Consumers should not be denied basic information of a GMO label

MASSPIRG argues why Boston Globe Editorial has it wrong on GMO food labels.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Food

Petition Containing Nearly 40,000 Signatures and Messages of Support for GMO Food Labeling Delivered to Speaker DeLeo

MASSPIRG along with a coalition of consumer, community, farming and public health organizations delivered 38,292 petition signatures to House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) calling for passage of GMO labeling bill. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Protection, Food

Majority of State Legislators Support GMO Food Labeling

MASSPIRG and other consumer, community, farming and public health organizations working to pass a GMO food labeling law announced that a majority of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate have pledged their support for GMO food labeling legislation curerntly pending in the House. In total, 142 Massachusetts legislators – including 119 from the House of Representatives and 23 from the Senate – have signed on in support of GMO food labeling legislation. 

> Keep Reading

Pages

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.

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- By an overwhelming majority 127-31, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a critical bill today aimed at stemming the youth vaping epidemic. “An Act to Modernize Tobacco Control” (H 4183) 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.

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

Thank you.

We are grateful for all the Giving Tuesday support. 
You can still donate and stand together with us.




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.