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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 15, 2016 04:24 PM
From: Representative Stephen McCarter
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation Prohibiting the Sale of Seeds and Plants That Have Been Treated with Certain Insecticides
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit the sale of seeds and plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide that acts as a poison on an insect’s nervous system.

Specifically, this legislation would prohibit the sale of seeds or plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids unless they bear a label or are located in close proximity to a sign bearing a warning of the possible dangers of using neonicotinoids. This legislation would also prohibit the sale of neonicotinoids at a retail location unless the retailer also sells restricted-use pesticides, and would further prohibit an individual from applying neonicotinoids unless the individual is a farmer, veterinarian, or licensed pesticide applicator.

Neonicotinoids are one of the most widely used insecticides globally, primarily because of the ease at which they can be applied. Seeds that farmers use to plant and grow their crops are initially coated with the insecticide. The insecticide is water soluble and is absorbed into the seed/plant. The pretreated seeds are planted normally, but now (after the coating process) contain a treatment of the insecticide that does not require a later treatment of spraying, which saves time and money.

According to the Agriculture Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, roughly one-third of our food directly or indirectly results from honey bee pollination. The overall impact of neonicotinoids on bee species is currently being examined at the federal level. A recent study published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the leading biological research journal of the Royal Society in London, England, found that thiamethoxam and clothianidin, two chemicals from the neonicotinoid family of insecticides, reduce living sperm in male honey bees (drones) by nearly 40 percent. Thiamethoxam and clothianidin were banned in the European Union in 2013, but continue to be used on an industrial scale in the United States.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1818