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. Wolf to take action to protect bees and our food. 

Issue updates

Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19, Public Health

COVID-19 and the question of priorities | Douglas H. Phelps

To keep the sickest people alive during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need ventilators. We don’t have them — and that says something about our priorities.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Price gouging on medical equipment risks lives, 100+ mayors call for action

A new investigation by ProPublica, along with reporting by numerous other outlets, has revealed that suppliers are using the COVID-19 public health emergency to drive up prices exorbitantly on medical equipment. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

President Trump takes crucial step of activating Defense Production Act to get more ventilators

In response to a critical shortage of ventilators needed to keep severe COVID-19 patients breathing, President Donald Trump ordered General Motors to produce the life-saving machines under the Defense Production Act. The Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for implementation of and follow through on that order. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Statement: Passing the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act” is a crucial step to protect U.S. children

In an effort to protect young Americans from the temptations that can lead to a life-long struggle with tobacco addiction, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on Friday on a bill that would restrict tobacco sales and marketing.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Price gouging on medical equipment risks lives, 100+ mayors call for action

A new investigation by ProPublica, along with reporting by numerous other outlets, has revealed that suppliers are using the COVID-19 public health emergency to drive up prices exorbitantly on medical equipment. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

President Trump takes crucial step of activating Defense Production Act to get more ventilators

In response to a critical shortage of ventilators needed to keep severe COVID-19 patients breathing, President Donald Trump ordered General Motors to produce the life-saving machines under the Defense Production Act. The Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for implementation of and follow through on that order. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Statement: Passing the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act” is a crucial step to protect U.S. children

In an effort to protect young Americans from the temptations that can lead to a life-long struggle with tobacco addiction, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on Friday on a bill that would restrict tobacco sales and marketing.

> Keep Reading
News Release | PennPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection, Food

New investigation: Supermarkets failing to warn public about food recalls

PHILADELPHIA -- Americans are not hearing about food recalls, and that communication breakdown is having serious repercussions for public health. For example, less than two years ago, people kept getting sick for months after 12 million pounds of Salmonella-contaminated beef was recalled. The pattern has repeated for other recalls even when news outlets have publicized warnings from food safety agencies. 

> Keep Reading

Pages

Result | Public Health

Convincing McDonald’s and Subway to protect public health

In 2015, bolstered by the support of more than 100,000 members and supporters, we convinced both McDonald’s and Subway to take action to protect public health. In March, just two days after we delivered more than 30,000 petitions to McDonald’s headquarters, the company announced that they would stop serving chicken raised on medically-important antibiotics. And in October, after more than 100,000 called on the chain to take action, Subway announced a similar policy for all the meat they serve.

> Keep Reading
Result | Food

Researching How Tax Dollars Become Twinkies

U.S. PIRG research found that since 1995, $17 billion in agricultural subsidies have gone to corn syrup and other junk food ingredients. That’s enough to buy 2.8 billion Twinkies, and vastly more than has gone to apples and other fresh fruits and vegetables.

> Keep Reading
Result | Food

KIDS’ SCHOOL LUNCHES NOW SAFER

For years, America’s schoolchildren have been eating beef, chicken and other foods that would have been rejected as substandard even by fast food chains. Thanks in part to our advocacy, the USDA has stopped buying such low-quality meat for school lunches.

> Keep Reading
Result | Public Health

KIDS’ SCHOOL LUNCHES NOW SAFER

For years, America’s schoolchildren have been eating beef, chicken and other foods that would have been rejected as substandard even by fast food chains. Thanks in part to our advocacy, the U.S.D.A. has stopped buying such low-quality meat for school lunches.

> Keep Reading
Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Food

Food Recall Failure

Our research found the majority of grocery stores fail to warn the public about hazardous food recalls. While they collect significant information about Americans shopping habits to sell us more food, they aren't doing enough to use that information to protect the public health.

> Keep Reading
Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Food

FOOD RECALL FAILURE

Consumers have a right to know about food recalls to protect their health from dangerous pathogens, chunks of metal, and undeclared allergens. But U.S. PIRG Education Fund's survey of 26 of the largest grocery stores in the United States to determine the efficacy of their policies and practices notifying consumers about food recalls, most failed.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction V

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

> Keep Reading
Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide

With this Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide, parents, teachers, and students can make more informed decisions while shopping for school supplies this Back to School season. We want to give parents and teachers the option to choose school supplies that do not contain toxic chemicals. This Shopping Guide should serve as a handy tool for finding products free of several types of toxic chemicals.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19, Public Health

COVID-19 and the question of priorities | Douglas H. Phelps

To keep the sickest people alive during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need ventilators. We don’t have them — and that says something about our priorities.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Superbugs Unplugged: PIRG launches podcast about antibiotic resistance

Get ready for some alarming stories—and they're all the more alarming because they're true.

On Nov. 14, U.S. PIRG and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) of George Washington University launched "Superbugs Unplugged," a podcast that will dive into the alarming issue of antibiotic resistance and how we can slow it. Matt Wellington, our Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics campaign director, is co-hosting the podcast, along with Dr. Lance Price of ARAC. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Kids are back at school. How do we make sure their water is safe to drink?

It's not just Flint or Newark. Parents and teachers are concerned about lead in drinking water throughout the country. And they're looking for steps they can take to get the lead out.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

These lawmakers are urging the EPA to protect our life-saving medicines

U.S. lawmakers have sent a blunt message to the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Spraying antibiotics on citrus will "escalate [the] antibiotic resistance crisis."

> Keep Reading
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

Pages

Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Superbugs Unplugged: PIRG launches podcast about antibiotic resistance

Get ready for some alarming stories—and they're all the more alarming because they're true.

On Nov. 14, U.S. PIRG and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) of George Washington University launched "Superbugs Unplugged," a podcast that will dive into the alarming issue of antibiotic resistance and how we can slow it. Matt Wellington, our Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics campaign director, is co-hosting the podcast, along with Dr. Lance Price of ARAC. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Kids are back at school. How do we make sure their water is safe to drink?

It's not just Flint or Newark. Parents and teachers are concerned about lead in drinking water throughout the country. And they're looking for steps they can take to get the lead out.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

These lawmakers are urging the EPA to protect our life-saving medicines

U.S. lawmakers have sent a blunt message to the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Spraying antibiotics on citrus will "escalate [the] antibiotic resistance crisis."

> 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

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

Pages

Blog Post

To keep the sickest people alive during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need ventilators. We don’t have them — and that says something about our priorities.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

A new investigation by ProPublica, along with reporting by numerous other outlets, has revealed that suppliers are using the COVID-19 public health emergency to drive up prices exorbitantly on medical equipment. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG

In response to a critical shortage of ventilators needed to keep severe COVID-19 patients breathing, President Donald Trump ordered General Motors to produce the life-saving machines under the Defense Production Act. The Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for implementation of and follow through on that order. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG

In an effort to protect young Americans from the temptations that can lead to a life-long struggle with tobacco addiction, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on Friday on a bill that would restrict tobacco sales and marketing.

Public Health

Economists call for states to shut down, contain coronavirus before reopening

Economists from leading universities have signed an open letter to decision-makers urging them to scale back reopening in states that fail to meet public health benchmarks, saying the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus will continue as long as the virus goes uncontained.

 

Public Health

Senate approves $15 million to study PFAS chemicals linked to cancer in drinking water

The U.S. Senate has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes $15 million for studying PFAS in drinking water. Toxic PFAS chemicals have been linked to serious health problems such as cancer and liver damage. 

 

Public Health

Responding to the COVID crisis

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, we need to work together to ensure that our government has a coordinated, strategic response to safeguard the public’s health, protect consumers from emerging dangers and ensure people can still participate fully in our democracy.

 

Public Health

States competing for PPE need federal coordination

U.S. PIRG and a coalition of leading public health and medical groups are urging U.S. senators to establish central, transparent coordination of the medical supply chain in the next coronavirus stimulus package in order to get medical supplies to the areas that need it most.

 
View AllRSS Feed

Support Us

Your donation supports PennPIRG'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



PennPIRG 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.