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

Blog Post | Food

There was how much lead in the baby food? | Henry Hintermeister

A congressional report revealed high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in baby food sold by leading brands. What may be even more shocking is that there are virtually no federal standards for toxic heavy metals in baby food.

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

Matter of life or death: California bill would allow hospitals to repair critical medical equipment

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put extreme stress on the U.S. healthcare system and workers, California introduced the Medical Device Right to Repair Act (SB 605). The bill, authored by state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, would require manufacturers of critical medical equipment, such as ventilators, to provide repair parts and information to hospital technicians and other third-party servicers.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19, Public Health

After 20 people die and dozens become ill, FDA finally flags hand sanitizer from Mexico | Teresa Murray

Consumers still at risk for harmful over-the-counter drug products of all types because of soft federal regulations.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

New Report: Toxic waste cleanup efforts lag, putting Americans at risk

California has the second-most toxic waste sites of any state in the country, according to a new report from CALPIRG Education Fund, “Superfund Underfunded: How taxpayers have been left with a toxic financial burden.” Due to their highly hazardous nature, the 97 sites in California are eligible for cleanup under the federal government’s “Superfund” program but data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailed in the report show remediation efforts are lagging due to budget shortfalls.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Superfund Underfunded

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

EPA Fails to Protect Children's Health with Proposed Update to Lead and Copper Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released its long-awaited proposal to update the federal Lead and Copper Rule.

Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate for CALPIRG released the following statement in response:

 
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has squandered the opportunity to protect children's health in their new proposal to update the lead and copper rule. In the first update in nearly 30 years, the EPA had an obligation to protect children and communicate to the country that there is no safe level of lead."

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

New analysis uncovers unsafe blood pressure medication distributed in US

A new analysis of publicly available information from the FDA by U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund finds only 26 percent of a class of recalled blood pressure medications have been assessed for carcinogen contamiantion -- and the majority had some lots with higher levels than the FDA considers safe.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

New toolkit gives California parents know-how to “Get the Lead Out” of school drinking water

Oakland – With school kids “back to school”, and the legislature wrapping up their 2019 session, CALPIRG today released a new free toolkit to help parents, teachers and administrators Get the Lead Out of school drinking water.  With a lack of complete information on lead contamination in schools throughout the state, CALPIRG Education Fund provide this tool to grapple with this serious health threat facing our children.

> Keep Reading
News Release | US PIRG | Public Health

Statement: Chick-fil-A completes phasing antibiotics out of its chicken supply

In a big win for keeping antibiotics effective, Chick-fil-A announced today that it has officially met its 2014 goal of eliminating chicken raised with antibiotics from its supply chain and now serves No Antibiotics Ever(NAE) chicken in all 2,400+ of its U.S. restaurants.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

CALPIRG Statement on Lead Remediation Funds in Proposed School Bond, AB 48.

Statement by Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate for CALPIRG 

“With AB 48, the California legislature is proposing to make a downpayment on the investment needed to get the lead out of California school drinking water.”

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Public Health

History repeats: Congress takes on tobacco industry, again | Matt Wellington

Today, the Oversight Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee -- the very Committee that dramatically and finally exposed tobacco companies’ ploys to deceive smokers back in 1994 -- is taking on the tobacco threat 2.0 with a hearing about the public health risks of e-cigarettes. Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) submitted U.S. PIRG's blog on the youth vaping epidemic into the official record of the hearing. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Amazon: Take responsibility for unsafe products

Most of us expect that the products we buy in stores are safe to use. It turns out that's not always the case with Amazon. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

More than 1,600 California school water fountains test positive for lead

 

Roughly 1 in 5 California schools have detectable levels of lead in their drinking water.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Public education, member action strengthen call to ban Roundup

The more we educate the public about Monsanto's weedkiller, Roundup, the more support we find for banning the product—the residue of which can be found practically everywhere, from breakfast cereal to ice cream.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Why does agribusiness keep overusing antibiotics? Consider 'Pig Zero.'

"Don't wait for Pig Zero," declared the poster, featuring a pig peeking through a giant blue zero, that appeared at last year's swine industry trade show.

> 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.