Assembly OKs bill limiting use of certain pesticides
Neonicotinoids threaten health of pollinators
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Kislak and Sen. Joshua Miller to rein in the use of neonicotinoids, a class of neuro-active insecticides that have come under increasing scrutiny over their environmental impacts, particularly their threat to the bee population.
Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides that affects the central nervous system, resulting in paralysis and death. Studies show that neonicotinoid residue accumulates in pollen and nectar of treated plants and represents a potential risk to pollinators. As a result of this and their pervasive use, there is concern that they play a major contributing role in pollinator declines.
Consequently, the European Union has banned the use of three major neonicotinoids on all field crops. Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Maryland have all restricted their use.
The legislation (2022-H 7129), 2022-2299), which now heads to the governor’s desk, would restrict the use of neonicotinoids outdoors, allowing only certified applicators to purchase or use them. It would also prohibit their use on any linden or basswood tree, or to any plant when it is blossoming.
The legislation would not affect indoor products, personal care or veterinary products.
“It’s well known that the United States is experiencing a serious decline in pollinators, and that this crisis has negative effects on crop production and our food supply. Our very existence depends on pollinators, so we should do our best to protect them,” said Representative Kislak (D-Dist. 4, Providence).
Said Senator Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), who is chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, “Jeopardizing the bee population can have far-reaching, potentially disastrous effects on our environment and food production. There are serious concerns worldwide about the effects neonicotinoids are having on bees, and Rhode Island should join its neighbors in the region in limiting their use.”