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

Issue updates

Blog Post | Public Health

Chlorpyrifos: Too Toxic for California | Laura Deehan

Today, CALPIRG joined Californians for Pesticide Reform and 116 other groups strongly supporting the Department of Pesticide Regulation proposal to designate chlorpyrifos as a toxic air contaminant. But the state must not stop there; protecting the public from risks posed by chlorpyrifos means preventing its use completely. The Dept Pesticide Regulation should also cancel all registrations of chlorpyrifos, and immediately suspend current registration of chlorpyrifos containing products. 

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Blog Post | Public Health

Water in half of San Francisco Unified School District tested positive for lead

We've visualized the lead problem in San Francisco schools, and the picture is an alarming one.

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Blog Post | Public Health

California protects its youngest: Law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

The lives and futures of more than 600,000 California children will soon get a little healthier.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Lead Found In Water in Half of San Francisco Unified District Schools

Today CALPIRG Education Fund released an analysis of San Francisco lead testing results from the last school year in a new interactive map, finding that half of San Francisco Unified district schools found some lead in the drinking water. “Given that even low levels of lead exposure can cause irreversible loss of IQ, San Francisco Unified School District should take action to get the lead out wherever it is getting into drinking water,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG Education Fund.  

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Lead in School Drinking Water a Pervasive Problem

With a new school year in full swing, CALPIRG Education Fund today released its 2018 “Get the Lead Out: Back to School Toolkit” to help parents, teachers, and administrators get the lead out of schools’ drinking water.

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Pages

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Lead Found In Water in Half of San Francisco Unified District Schools

Today CALPIRG Education Fund released an analysis of San Francisco lead testing results from the last school year in a new interactive map, finding that half of San Francisco Unified district schools found some lead in the drinking water. “Given that even low levels of lead exposure can cause irreversible loss of IQ, San Francisco Unified School District should take action to get the lead out wherever it is getting into drinking water,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG Education Fund.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Lead in School Drinking Water a Pervasive Problem

With a new school year in full swing, CALPIRG Education Fund today released its 2018 “Get the Lead Out: Back to School Toolkit” to help parents, teachers, and administrators get the lead out of schools’ drinking water.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Bill to Require Child Care Centers to Test for Lead in Drinking Water Heads to Governor’s Desk

“Day care providers work day in and day out to keep children safe, but many may be unwittingly exposing kids to lead in their tap water,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG. “There is no safe level of lead, especially for the littlest Californians, who are the most vulnerable to any lead exposure.”

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Bill to Ban Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals in Furniture, Mattresses and Children’s Products Sent to Governor’s Desk

“Chemicals linked to cancer do not belong in our homes or around our children. These chemicals have been used in children’s products, furniture and mattresses for decades, threatening our health, when all along they never made fires safer in the first place,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG. “If AB 2998 becomes law, consumers can be clear that the products we buy are free from these dangerous chemicals.”

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Is E. Coli contaminated Cargill/Excel beef in your fridge?

Last Thursday, Cargill Meat Solutions recalled more than 25,000 pounds of ground beef products shipped to Colorado and California because of possible contamination with potentially deadly E. coli. Cargill is likely unfamiliar to shoppers as the beef it produces is labeled using other brands, in this case “Excel fresh meat”.

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Pages

Result | Public Health

Strictest Antibiotics Standards In The Nation

In October 2015, after widespread calls for action from our members and allies, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation into law that—for the first time ever in the United States—sets comprehensive limits on the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in meat production in California. The law is a big step toward protecting the efficacy of life-saving antibiotics needed for human use and sets an example for other states to follow.

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Result | Public Health

California Enacts Strict Standards for Antibiotic Use on Livestock

In October 2015 Governor Jerry Brown today signed CALPIRG-backed legislation by Senator Jerry Hill that for the first time ever sets comprehensive limits on the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in meat production in the U.S. The law will help protect the efficacy of antibiotics needed for human use.

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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.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Get the Lead Out: Back to School Toolkit

Our children need safe drinking water—especially at school where they go to learn and play each day. Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country. This “Back to School” toolkit is designed to help parents, teachers and school officials get the facts on lead in drinking water and make the case for strong local action to ensure safe drinking water at school. 

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Report | CALPIRG 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.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

In Your Face

The negative health effects of asbestos are well-known. Most people may associate asbestos contamination with the workplace or decades-old construction material, but alarmingly, recent media reports have found asbestos contamination in kids' makeup from popular stores. PIRG decided to do its own asbestos testing at an accredited laboratory.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction III

The third annual Chain Reaction report, which grades companies on their antibiotics policies and practices, found that 14 out of the top 25 restaurants in the U.S. have taken steps to restrict the routine use of antibiotics in the production of the chicken they serve, up from nine just one year ago. While restaurant chains made great progress on chicken, the groups who authored the report found that there were no new commitments to limit antibiotic use in beef and pork.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Get the Lead Out

Our children need safe drinking water – especially at school where they go to learn and play each day.  Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country.  As our report shows, states including California are so far failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school. 

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Pages

Blog Post | Public Health

Chlorpyrifos: Too Toxic for California | Laura Deehan

Today, CALPIRG joined Californians for Pesticide Reform and 116 other groups strongly supporting the Department of Pesticide Regulation proposal to designate chlorpyrifos as a toxic air contaminant. But the state must not stop there; protecting the public from risks posed by chlorpyrifos means preventing its use completely. The Dept Pesticide Regulation should also cancel all registrations of chlorpyrifos, and immediately suspend current registration of chlorpyrifos containing products. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Water in half of San Francisco Unified School District tested positive for lead

We've visualized the lead problem in San Francisco schools, and the picture is an alarming one.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

California protects its youngest: Law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

The lives and futures of more than 600,000 California children will soon get a little healthier.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Toxic triclosan in toothpaste? | Dev Gowda

A recent article in the LA Times revealed that a new study found that the toxic compound triclosan, which is commonly found in toothpaste as well as other consumer products such as cosmetics, children’s toys, and yoga mats, “could cause adverse effects on colonic inflammation and colon cancer.”

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Blog Post | Public Health

Home remodeling shouldn’t be a deadly project: Toxic paint removers being sold by Lowe’s and other stores | Dev Gowda

No one should lose a loved one to deadly chemicals. But right now you can walk into Lowe’s and other stores and buy paint removers containing highly toxic chemicals.

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Pages

Blog Post | Public Health

Water in half of San Francisco Unified School District tested positive for lead

We've visualized the lead problem in San Francisco schools, and the picture is an alarming one.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

California protects its youngest: Law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

The lives and futures of more than 600,000 California children will soon get a little healthier.

> Keep Reading
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