Ashley Chesser endorsed 2015-11-05 15:39:44 -0800My yard is safe for people and pets!
Pesticides are agents (including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides) that are designed to kill living organisms. But they don't just kill the "pest," they can harm other creatures too. Many common chemical pesticides are dangerous and can cause ill health effects in people, pets and wildlife when exposure occurs. Over time, repeated or severe exposures can lead to serious illnesses, cancer, and birth defects.
Take the Pesticide-Free Pledge to keep your home, yard and garden free from toxic pesticides!
Most issues that you encounter in your home, yard or garden can be avoided or solved using ecological alternatives. That means being pesticide-free isn't just better for the environment, it's also easy! So take the Pesticide-Free Pledge and help us reach our first goal of 5,000 pledges!
"To help protect the environment, my health, and the health of others, I pledge to avoid using pesticides in my home, yard and garden."
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Neonicotinoids, or "neonics" for short, are neurotoxic pesticides that kill insects by blocking nerve impulses, causing lethal paralysis. Neonics are used on dozens of crops and are the most widely used insecticides in the world. Neonics may be applied to plant seeds, the soil, or sprayed directly onto foliage. As systemic insecticides, neonics are absorbed through the roots or the leaves, and move throughout plant tissue, contaminating pollen and nectar.
Neonics are highly persistent, and remain present in plant tissues long after applied. Research also shows neonicotinoids can persist in the soil several years after the last application, affecting plants that were not the original targets. The consumption of neonics dissolved in pollen or nectar is one way bees can be exposed to neonicotinoids. Bees may also be exposed by direct contact with sprayed plants before the pesticide has been absorbed. Although bees have received most of the attention, they are not the only species group potentially harmed by neonics. A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid is toxic enough to kill a songbird.
Although ingestion or contact with neonics can kill bees directly at high enough doses, smaller doses can cause “sub-lethal” impacts. In honey bees these include problems with flying and navigation, reduced taste sensitivity, and slower learning of new tasks, which all impact foraging ability. Bumble bees exposed to sublethal amounts of neonicotinoids exhibit reduced food consumption, reproduction, worker survival rates, and foraging activity.
Neonicotinoids are found in hundreds of products sold over the counter under various trade names. Many of these are designed for individual home and garden use. One of the most toxic neonicotinoids to our native bees – imidacloprid - is commonly applied to gardens, flowerbeds, shrubs, and trees in urban and residential areas. Neonicotinoids are also applied on a broader scale by farmers producing crops and ornamental plants.
Declining pollinator populations have been documented across the world, posing a real threat to crop production and to the integrity of native ecosystems. Although there are multiple drivers of this phenomenon, including habitat loss and pathogens, systemic insecticides are recognized as key factor in pollinator decline. A taskforce convened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reviewed over 800 published studies on systemic insecticides, concluding that neonicotonoids "are causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species and are a key factor in the decline of bees." The report also noted that neonicotinoids are present in the environment “at levels that are known to cause lethal and sub-lethal effects on a wide range of terrestrial (including soil) and aquatic microorganisms, invertebrates, and vertebrates.”
Pollinators matter. They are worth protecting. Let's take the needed steps to save them.
How You Can Help
Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have drafted a bill that will suspend use of the worst neonicotinoid pesticides and direct EPA to perform a deeper evaluation of their impacts on pollinators. But we need more sponsors in order to get this bill to the floor for a vote!
Ensure your garden isn't harming the very bees you attract! See our list of nurseries that have pledged not to supply neonic-treated plants and help us scout out more neonic-free nurseries.
Ashley Chesser published Saving America's Pollinators Act in Save the Bees 2015-02-20 19:38:04 -0800
Tell Your Representative: Co-sponsor the Saving America's Pollinators Act (HR 1284)
Reintroduced to the House on March 4, 2015 by Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the bill proposes suspending the use of the nitro group of neonicotinoid pesticides and directs the EPA to perform a deeper evaluation of their impacts on pollinators.
This bill is gaining support. It now has over 50 co-sponsors!
Based on growing evidence linking neonicotinoid pesticides to dramatic declines in bee populations, many concerned parties have asked that EPA perform a more stringent review of the chemicals' environmental impacts. In March 2015 a coalition of beekeepers, farmers, business leaders, environmental and food safety advocates rallied in front of the White House and delivered more than 4 million petition signatures calling on the Obama administration to put forth strong protections for bees and other pollinators.
After record-breaking bee die-offs in Hillsboro and Wilsonville, Oregon, the urgency of this issue is even more apparent, and lawmakers are responding to the need for better research on neonicotinoids and their effects.
Saving America's Pollinators Act would also require the U.S. Department of the Interior to work with the EPA to monitor and report on the health of population status of native bees.
Submit a Letter to the Editor
Help raise the visibility of this bill by writing to your local paper. Click here for a sample letter to the editor.
Tell your Representative: Co-sponsor the Saving America's Pollinators Act! Here's what to say:
Hi, my name is _______________,Submit
I'm a constituent of Representative ____________. I'm calling to ask you to please co-sponsor HR 1284, Representative Blumenauer's Saving America's Pollinators Act of 2015. This bill will help protect bees and other pollinators from neonicotinoid pesticides, and it will spur new scientific review of pesticide impacts that are not yet wholly understood.
This bill will also bring the U.S. up to speed in an area where it has sadly fallen behind. As you may know, the European Union placed its own suspension on neonicotinoid pesticides earlier this year in order to protect pollinators from possible harm while scientists study the chemicals more fully. The United States should take similar steps to protect its natural resources, its public health, and its pollinators.
Please co-sponsor HR 1284!