Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

A SMALL POLLINATOR, A BIG PROBLEM — Millions of bees are dying off every year, and scientists point to a widely used class of pesticides as one of the main causes.

Our Food Supply Relies On Bees

We have to stop the bee die-off and help this vitally important species recover, for the sake of our food, the environment and our economy. 

Bees are dying in the United States and around the world, and it’s a major problem. We rely on bees to pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90 percent of the world’s food. In the U.S. alone, honey bees pollinate an estimated $15 billion worth of crops every year.

We rely on bees to pollinate everything from strawberries to broccoli to the alfalfa used to feed dairy cows. Imagine no almonds, less coffee and chocolate, fewer apples and strawberries, less ice cream and milk … the list goes on.

The bottom line: without bees, we don’t have food.

OUR FAVORITE FOODS — Bees play an important role in pollinating some of our favorite foods, from strawberries and apples to almonds and coffee.

10,000 Times More Toxic To Bees Than DDT 

Scientists point to pesticides as one of the main factors causing bees to die off in alarming numbers, in particular a class of bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids (or neonics). 

When seeds are treated with neonics, the chemicals work their way into the pollen and nectar of the plants — which, of course, is bad news for bees and other pollinators. 

Worse, neonics are at least 5,000-10,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT. 

Just one example: After a nearby farm planted corn seeds coated with neonics in 2013, farmer Dave Schuit lost 37 million of his bees. “Once the corn started to get planted, our bees died by the millions,” said Schuit. 

UNPRECEDENTED LOSSES — In recent years, beekeepers report they’re losing an average 30 percent of all honey bee colonies each winter, twice the amount considered sustainable.

We Can Eliminate These Pesticides

Given the consequences for our farms and our food, you’d think we’d be doing all we can to protect bees and other pollinators from neonics. 

Scientists say that we don’t even need to spray these chemicals, since we have commonsense alternatives like altering the time of planting and watering, and planting more native species. 

Yet big agrichemical companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Bayer and Syngenta are fighting to prevent bans. Syngenta has even asked federal regulators for permission to use even larger quantities of these pesticides — as much as 400 times more than currently allowed. 

Alarmed by the role these chemicals are playing in the decline of bee populations, the European Union has banned several of them; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has committed to phasing them out on the public lands they manage; and cities like Seattle and states like Maryland have taken action as well. 

Still, even with evidence showing that neonics need to be banned, we continue to spray about 46 million pounds of these pesticides on our homes, gardens and public spaces every year. 

NO SAFE PLACE FOR A BEE TO EXIST — According to a recent study, about three quarters of all honey worldwide is contaminated with pesticides known to harm bees.

It’s Time For States To Take Action

For the past several years, PIRG and other groups have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban these pesticides nationwide, and they have failed to do so. We’re not waiting on the EPA any longer. Now, to protect bees and our food supply, we're calling on states to act. 

In order to restore bee populations to health and save our food supply, we need states to ban the sale of bee-killing pesticides for our homes, parks and gardens and ensure that they are not used on state property. 

If enough states take action, we will eliminate the use of more than 40 percent of insecticides used in this country. That’s a lot of bees that we can save — bees that will pollinate our food. 

That kind of collective action will be a strong signal to large chemical companies and the federal government that we want them to stop poisoning our parks, homes and food with these products. 

Right now, we’re spraying chemicals that are known to kill bees just as we’re in the midst of an unsustainable die-off in bee populations. That has to change — now. 

Join us in calling on Gov. Brown to take action to protect bees and our food. 

Issue updates

News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19, Public Health

It’s too soon to cancel regional stay-at-home orders

California Gov. Gavin Newsom cancelled the regional stay-at-home orders Monday, returning the state to its previous color-coded tiered system of restrictions based on county COVID-19 data.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19, Public Health

San Francisco Mayor London Breed makes the right call to save lives

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday that the city would shut down all indoor dining following a 250 percent increase in COVID-19 cases.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care

Report: Nursing homes endure massive PPE shortages

California nursing homes, along with thousands nationwide, are dealing with horrific shortages of masks, gowns and other items they need to protect residents, workers and the broader community from COVID-19, according to “Nursing home safety during COVID: PPE shortages,” a report by the CALPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health, Consumer Protection

California first state to ban toxic chemicals in personal care products, cosmetics

In a major victory for the movement for safer cosmetics, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, Assembly Bill 2762, into law on Wednesday. This is the nation’s first state-level ban of 24 toxic ingredients, including mercury and formaldehyde, from the beauty and personal care products Californians use every day.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG, Environment California | Public Health, Transportation

Statement: Gov. Newsom’s climate-focused executive order is a victory for the environment

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday morning an executive order requiring all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. With this executive order, California becomes the first state in the country to set a sales ban on gas-powered cars.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Report | CALPIRG | Public Health

Ending the Abuse of Antibiotics in Livestock Production

Over 70% of antibiotics in classes used in human medicine are sold for use in food animals.  This is typically done to increase the speed at which animals gain weight or to prevent disease caused by unhealthy and unsanitary conditions.

   

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Public Health

CALPIRG Supports State Bill to Limit Use of Antibiotics in Farm Animals

Since they were developed in the 1940s, antibiotics have been one of the most important tools in modern medicine to protect our health.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Food

A Year of Progress

As of 2013, 90% of the corn and 93% of the soy grown in the U.S. are GMO varieties, and by the mid-2000s, 87% of the domestic canola crop was genetically modified. Despite USDA and FDA regulations leaving consumers in the dark, many companies have been responding independantly to the overwhelming consumer support for GMO labeling.  

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Food

Apples to Twinkies 2013

At a time when America faces high obesity rates and tough federal budget choices, taxpayer dollars are funding the production of junk food ingredients. Since 1995, the government has spent $292.5 billion on agricultural subsidies, $19.2 billion of which have subsidized corn- and soy-derived junk food ingredients. That is enought to buy 20 twinkies for every American taxpayer.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Comments on the Blue Shield of California Proposal to Increase Small Employer Health Insurance Rates, Effective July 1, 2013.

After analysis of the complete filing – inclusive of the three subsequent submissions – it appears that for the most part, Blue Shield provided sufficient background data for the requested rate increase. However, we note that it took repeated requests for Blue Shield to provide the information necessary to justify the rate increase.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Public Health

California protects its youngest: Law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

The lives and futures of more than 600,000 California children will soon get a little healthier.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Public Health

Gas stoves are even worse for health and climate than previously thought

We're urging Best Buy, the third-largest appliance retailer in the U.S., to better inform its customers about the health risk of gas stoves. New research shows that children living in homes with gas cooking have a 24% higher chance over their lifetime of being diagnosed with asthma.

 

Public Health

CALPIRG's new toolkit will help schools Get the Lead Out

Now that California has the funds to get the lead out of children's drinking water, we distributed a toolkit to help leaders use $200 million lead exposures from school drinking water.

 

Public Health

Gov. Newsom signs CALPIRG-backed bill to create nation's strictest lead limits

Californians will soon have less lead in their drinking water after Gov. Newsom signed CALPIRG-backed lead leaching limits into law. These new restrictions are the strictest in the country and will help address the health problems caused by the heavy metal.

 

Public Health

Victory! CALPIRG-backed bill to strengthen lead restrictions clears state Senate

For years, California has failed to address lead in school drinking water. But our leaders have a chance to change that and protect the health of our children by passing a CALPIRG-backed ban on the sale of water faucets and fixtures that leach excess lead.

 
View AllRSS Feed

Support Us

Your donation supports CALPIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code



CALPIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.