Updated: Jan 28
On January 18th 2022, New Jersey legislature and Governor Phil Murphy took a vital step toward the protection of pollinators through the passage of Bill A2070/S1016, banning non-agricultural outdoor use of neonicotinoids. As the majority of outdoor neonicotinoid applications in the state are related to landscaping and lawn care, this regulation could reduce use by an estimated 70%. This groundbreaking legislation sends a strong message to states and regulatory agencies, applying pressure to ban this destructive class of insecticides.
A systemic chemical which is absorbed into the plant and subsequently found in pollen and nectar, neonicotinoids have been proven as a leading cause of major declines in bee and insect populations. Additionally, the risk to human health is significant with a recent study from the CDC indicating that approximately 50% of the U.S. population have recent exposure to neonics, and research has linked developmental and neurological effects to neonicotinoid exposure. Due to rising concerns, the European Union began banning neonicotinoid products in 2013. As the Environmental Protection Agency continues to allow use of these dangerous products, some states and U.S. agencies have adopted their own policies and laws to reduce or eliminate use including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as they phased out all use of neonicotinoids beginning in 2016.
Products containing neonicotinoids are available to consumers through common products such as insect sprays and lawn care treatments, and thanks to this important legislation will no longer be available in New Jersey. Supporters of this legislation hope that other states will follow the lead of the aptly named “Garden State” in setting the new standard of protection for critical pollinators and food systems.