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Letters-to-the-Editor & Commentary

Keep Neonics From Killing Our Birds

• Bookmarks: 11 • Comments: 1

November 14, 2023

To the editor:

One of the most exceptional aspects of living in the Rivertowns is the abundance of bird species that live in or migrate through the area – from red tailed hawk to heron to a multitude of songbirds. This makes the EPA’s recent assessment on neonic chemicals particularly distressing.  Their assessment on neonics, the most widely used insecticide in U.S. agriculture, found that the use of three neonic chemicals jeopardizes the existence of over 200 species, or 11% of the entire endangered species list.

Neonics are toxic, persistent, and everywhere. They permeate plants, turning their nectar, pollen, and fruit toxic. In fact, one neonic-treated seed has enough active ingredient to kill a songbird. And their contamination doesn’t stop there. When applied to plants, only 2-5% is absorbed, leaving the other 95% to persist in soil for years, where they are carried long distances by rain or irrigation water. Neonics have contaminated water sources throughout New York state at levels that eradicate the invertebrates that birds, fish, amphibians, and wildlife depend upon for food.

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With such pervasive contamination, it should be no surprise that New Yorkers themselves are exposed to neonics as well. These neurotoxins target the sensitive areas of the brain and central nervous system and can be passed from mother to fetus.

These deadly chemicals have no place in our soil and water. The Birds and Bees Protection Act (A7640/S1856-A) can limit them significantly, and it has been passed by both the New York State Assembly and Senate. It would ban neonic uses that are replaceable with safer, effective alternatives, eliminating 80%-90% of the neonics entering New York’s environment each year.

Governor Hochul must act now to protect New Yorkers, wildlife, and water sources by signing the Birds and Bees Protection Act.

Susan Bahary

Sleepy Hollow
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