Environmental groups are urging New Jersey lawmakers to take immediate action to limit the use of powerful neurotoxic pesticides that have decimated several wildlife populations and that could pose a danger to people's health.

Ed Potosnak, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, said the “Save the Bees” bill, A2070, would eliminate unnecessary uses of neonicotinoid insecticides, known as neonics, that have caused 40% to 50% of the bee colonies in the Garden State to collapse over the past decade.

We need bees

Honeybees are a $7 million industry in New Jersey and, along with wild bees and other pollinators, help pollinate nearly $200 million worth of fruits and vegetables annually.

“That’s worrying given that they pollinate our crops, particularly in New Jersey blueberries, cherries, apples, peaches, pumpkins cucumbers, the Jersey tomato and squash,” he said.

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“One in three bites of food we put in our mouth was made possible because of pollinators, particularly honey bees and we want to make sure that can continue into the future," he said.

What the bill would do

He said legislation now waiting to be voted on in the Assembly “limits most residential use of the pesticide. It does allow for agricultural uses in a limited scope.”

He also noted it’s important for everyone to understand that “many pesticides find their way into our food supply as they’re applied to food, and then into our bodies and sometimes we’re not able to metabolize them and they stick around.”

He said that can sometimes cause problems like cancer and other disorders.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee earlier this month, after it was passed by the State Senate more than a year ago.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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