Birds and Bees Protection Act
A.3226 (Glick, et al.)/S.1856 (Hoylman-Sigal, et al.)
Over the past two to three decades, as bees and other pollinator populations have drastically declined, bird populations, especially those that depend on insects as a food source, have also declined. Studies point to the introduction of neonicotinoid insecticides, a highly potent class of chemicals used increasingly as pesticides since the 1990s, as a predominant cause of increasing insect death across New York State. In addition, research documents that neonicotinoid insecticides, or “neonics,” injure or kill beneficial insects, worms and other invertebrates, bats, fish, and deer in the wild; moreover, case control studies in humans point to possible adverse health impacts from chronic exposure, including congenital abnormalities (birth defects) and impairments in neurological function.
Most exposures from neonics come from indiscriminate “prophylactic” treatment of corn, wheat, and soy crops by painting these poisonous chemicals on seeds. Neonic-treated seeds grow into plants that contain the highly potent chemical in every part of the plant, from roots to stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit; thus, any animal or human that eats the plant or fruit becomes contaminated. In addition, rainfall
washes these chemicals into surface and ground waters, eventually contaminating drinking water resources.
Moreover, in most cases, preventive treatment does not improve crop yields. Just as with antibiotics that are used for prevention rather than reserved for treatment, the widespread use of neonics via seed treatments has magnified their harms to humans and the environment, while providing minimal or no benefit. Removing indiscriminate use of neonics in New York leads to immediate reductions in exposures and harmful impacts. Catskill Mountainkeeper supports this bill.
- bans the sale of neonic coated seeds for corn, soybeans, and wheat, unless no acceptable alternative exists;
- bans neonics for non-agricultural turf and ornamental use, except to treat invasive species; and
- directs the state, in conjunction with Cornell University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, to study alternatives to neonics.