In the 2023 session, New York state became the first state in the country to pass legislation banning the sale of neonicotinoid coated or “neonic” coated seeds following in the footsteps of previous unsuccessful attempts by the state of California to stop the sale of neonic coated seeds. As of December 22, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed Senate Bill S1856A into law. 

New York Senate Bill S1856A, also known as the Birds and Bees Protection Act, bans the sale of traditional commodity crops such as corn, soybeans or wheat seeds coated with insecticides with neonicotinoid active ingredients after July 1, 2025. The bill also bans the use of neonics in lawn products. 

Neonicotinoids or “neonics” are dangerous neurotoxins for insects, birds and other mammals including humans. Widely used in agriculture and landscaping, neonic proliferation has been linked to declines in bee and pollinator populations and have contributed to soil and water contamination. Recent studies have also shown the presence of neonics in the blood of over 95% of pregnant persons that were tested. While the dangers of coated seeds are well established, recently advocates have also called into question the safety of communities surrounding plants that coat the seeds

SB 1856A was backed by a broad coalition of state lawmakers, advocates, and community groups and was based on a Cornell University study looking at neonic treated seeds and the impact on agriculture economic viability. This law is estimated to stop 80%-90% of the neonics currently entering New York’s environment on a yearly basis. 

 


 

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