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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 2, 2019 05:52 PM
From: Representative Stephen McCarter
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibiting the Sale of Seeds and Plants That Have Been Treated with Certain Insecticides
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. However, A recent study, “Neonicotinoid insecticides can serve as inadvertent insect contraceptives,” 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 certain chemicals used in neonicotinoid insecticides, a type of insecticide that acts as a poison on an insect’s nervous system, subsequently impairs the reproductive capabilities of male honey bees (drones) by nearly 40 percent. Thiamethoxam and clothianidin, two of the chemicals in question, were banned by the European Union in 2013, but continue to be used on an industrial scale in the United States.

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.

In an effort to address the danger posed to pollinators from neonicotinoids, I will be introducing legislation that 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. In addition, it would 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.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation.