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

Blog Post | Food

STABENOW-ROBERTS COMPROMISE on LABELING OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS | Deirdre Cummings

U.S. Senate proposal undermines consumers' right to know about GMO food.  

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Grilling to protect public health | Anya Vanecek

With antibiotics, we can all enjoy the summer free from the worry that a stumble on the sidewalk or a minor burn from the grill could turn into a serious illness. So what could be a better centerpiece to the picnic table than meat raised without routine antibiotics?

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Food

GMO Labels on Major Products Prove Vermont Law Having Impact

GMO labeling advocates at the Massachusetts State House today displayed a variety of food products that label their use of genetically engineered ingredients, a clear sign that Vermont’s law is already having an impact on consumer information. The advocates called on Massachusetts legislators to pass pending GMO labeling legislation and further strengthen the labeling effort.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG | Public Health

STATEMENT OF U.S. PIRG ON PIZZA HUT’S ANTIBIOTICS COMMITMENT

Pizza Hut announced that by the end of March 2017 it will no longer use chicken raised on antibiotics important to human medicine for its pizzas.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health, Food

Antibiotics: Yummy Yucky | Steve Blackledge

Two of the three Yum! Brand companies announced new antibiotics policies this week. One was a promising step to save antibiotics. The other was more "yucky."

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | MASSPIRG | Public Health, Consumer Protection

New Report Documents a Decade of Safety Violations by Compounding Pharmacies

The meningitis outbreak, which was traced back to the Framingham- based New England Compounding Center, was simply the latest and deadliest in a long line of errors and risky practices by compounding pharmacies across the country.

> Keep Reading

Unsafe foods putting American lives at risk

Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted foods being recalled and pulled off of store shelves. Recent recalls included contaminated cantaloupe, mangoes, papayas, peanut butter, ground turkey and beef, and yellow-fin tuna.

> Keep Reading

REPORT CLAIMS "BROKEN" FOOD SAFETY SYSTEM

Food recalls are on the rise and our food safety systems are broken.

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

Total Food Recall

Boston, October 24 – Despite government commitments to address the problem, food recalls are on the rise and our food safety systems are broken, according to a new report by MASSPIRG.  In just the last 21 months here in Massachusetts, 48 people were made sick from foodborne illnesses linked directly to food recalls, costing the state $532 thousand.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Budget, Food, Tax

Farm Bill needs to Cut the Fat

Of the $277 billion spent on agricultural subsidies since 1995, 75 percent of the total went to just 3.8 percent of U.S. farmers, skewed towards the largest farms — not small family farms. Massachusetts consumers’ share of the cost for junk food subsidies is about $22.6 million each year on average, compared with just under $800,000 in subsidies for apples. That’s enough to buy 61 million Twinkies, but only 1.6 million apples.

> Keep Reading

Pages

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.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its new Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States report, which estimates at least 35,000 Americans die annually from infections that antibiotics can no longer effectively treat.

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Boston. Most top fast food chains in the United States continue to sell beef produced with routine antibiotic use, earning them poor grades in the fifth annual Chain Reaction scorecard released today by six major consumer, public health and environmental organizations. This is a stark contrast to the stunning antibiotic success story that has unfolded across the chicken industry in the past decade, driven in large part by meaningful policies adopted by fast food companies. 

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.

 

Public Health | U.S. PIRG

This could be great, but what about e-cigarettes and vaping?

As federal officials consider bold action to warn the public about the health risks of cigarette smoking, we're highlighting that it’s also time for the FDA to take similarly bold action to address the youth vaping epidemic.

 
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