Mass Audubon supports state restrictions on pesticides that harm people and pollinators

Release Date:
March 8, 2021

LINCOLN, MA.--Massachusetts has joined Vermont, Maryland, and Connecticut as the only states in the U.S. to place restrictions on consumer uses of neonicotinoid pesticides (known as neonics). Neonics are not only harmful to people, but they harm pollinators such as bees, butterflies, birds, and bats.

On March 1, the Massachusetts Pesticide Board Subcommittee passed  regulations, which go into effect in 2022, to eliminate most products containing neonics from retail sales. Additionally, only licensed pesticide applicators will be able to use pesticides containing neonics for lawn care or on turf, trees, shrubs, and gardens.

 “We applaud the tremendous leadership of Rep. Carolyn Dykema, the Attorney General’s Office, and legislators from both parties who signed on to An Act to protect Massachusetts pollinators,” Mass Audubon President David J. O’Neill said. “While this groundbreaking legislation didn’t pass, it elevated awareness of the risks that neonics pose to our food systems and biodiversity, enabled a review of the best available science, and created the necessary push for this critical regulatory change.”

These regulations are a hard-won victory, but our work to protect pollinators is far from complete.  Mass Audubon, with its 135,000 members and 104 wildlife sanctuaries statewide, will continue to work with the Massachusetts Pollinator Network--a powerful grassroots coalition--to advocate for broader protections for pollinators.

We will advocate for training and information for consumers and pesticide applicators on the risks of neonics, labeling of nursery plants treated with them, and a phase-out on their use for merely aesthetic purposes and of neonic-coated corn and soybean seeds. 

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Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.

Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.