Neonicotinoids, a widely used class of pesticides has gained notoriety in recent years for their role in the disappearance of the world’s bees. Their neurotoxic nature contaminates a treated seed for its entire lifespan, making it affordable and appealing to the world’s large-scale food producers. The exponential toxicity of Neonicotinoids has contributed to Colony Collapse Disorder, causing the death of around 30% of bees in the United States and Canada last winter. Previous years have yielded similarly high rates of bee disappearance and death. The writing is on the wall, if we keep abusing the world’s bees, we won’t have enough pollinators to feed the world’s people.
With honey bees as the poster species for holistic agricultural practices, it is easy for the media to pass over the story of animals whose lives are seemingly less connected to our own. In Spring of 2013, the American Bird Conservancy released a report detailing the effects of Neonicotinoids on America’s birds and aquatic life and encouraging the United States to follow the European Union and ban all use of these pesticides immediately. Even a single contaminated seed can fatally poison a bird, leading the ABC to add them in the future to the list of chemicals they test for in bird seed from the big-box stores; Home Depot, Target, Wal Mart, and Lowe’s.
Beyond birds, ABC reports that the “contamination levels in both surface- and ground water in the United States and around the world are already beyond the threshold found to kill many aquatic invertebrates.” It appears that the Environmental Protection Agency also grossly underestimated the toxicity of Neonicotinoids on aquatic marine life because of small and oddly chosen sample group. Definitive research in the Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology Spring 2013 shows clear connections between the use of Neonicotinoids and immunosuppression in insects, fish, birds, and even mammals.
Join the fight against Neonicotinoids! We are excited to see that Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer has introduced a bill to congress that would put a ban on this class of pesticides until further review could prove that they were safe to use. Greenpeace has immediately offered their support for the campaign, but Blumenauer and his allies are up against some of Washington’s biggest high roller lobbyists, so we all need to voice our support for this important issue!
Send a Letter to your Congressmen now through Greenpeace’s campaign to pass the Save America’s Pollinators Act!