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DEC to restrict use of neonic pesticides to aid pollinators

Posted 2/13/22

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced actions to limit the unrestricted use of pesticides that can harm bee and other pollinator …

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DEC to restrict use of neonic pesticides to aid pollinators

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced actions to limit the unrestricted use of pesticides that can harm bee and other pollinator populations.

DEC is reclassifying certain products containing the neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and acetamiprid as “restricted use” to ensure applications are limited to trained pesticide applicators in specific situations. Restricting the use of these pesticides enables DEC to collect new data to determine where, when, and how they are used, as well as their potential impacts.

“Protecting pollinators is a top priority, and today’s action to restrict the use of these neonicotinoid pesticides is another important step in our ongoing efforts to safeguard these species that are crucial to New York’s environment, agricultural economy, and biodiversity,” Seggos said. “Reclassifying these pesticides will ensure they are only used in targeted instances by qualified professional applicators, and only available for sale to certified applicators which will further protect public health and the environment.”

New York is committed to promoting the health and recovery of pollinator populations, as highlighted in the state’s Pollinator Protection Plan. Pollinators contribute substantially to New York’s environment and economy.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pollinators provide approximately $344 million worth of pollination services to New York and add $29 billion in value to crop production nationally each year. The state’s ability to produce crops such as apples, grapes, cherries, onions, pumpkins, and cauliflower relies heavily on the presence of pollinators.

Pesticides represent one of many factors that stress pollinators, and neonicotinoids in particular have been identified as a group of pesticides that, in general, are highly toxic to pollinators.While commercial application of all pesticides is reported to DEC as part of the state’s stringent regulatory oversight, residential applications and sales of general use products to consumers are not. The reclassification ensures proper use by trained applicators and enables DEC to collect sales and use data to estimate and monitor the quantities and locations where these products are used.

The reclassification will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, allowing time for registrants, distributors, and retailers to prepare for the change in classification. Neonics will be reclassified under DEC’s pesticide regulation authority and pesticide registrants have been notified of the intent to reclassify the applicable products.

For more information about DEC’s pesticides program, go to https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/298.html.

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