OCEAN TOWNSHIP—Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling introduced new legislation this week that would require New Jersey retail stores selling pesticides to post a sign informing customers of the risks to pollinators associated with the use of pesticides.
“Right now, federal law bans states from labeling pesticides—but I believe that New Jersey consumers deserve to be informed," said Houghtaling (D-Neptune), who serves as chair of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. "Pollinators are the engine that makes the Garden State bloom; without them, agriculture and consumers across our state would suffer greatly. New Jersey farmers and gardeners deserve to know the harm that the product they're buying can do to their crops and their environment."
The US Department of Agriculture has said that one third of all food consumed by Americans is produced as a byproduct of bee pollination. Altogether, bees pollinate approximately $15 billion worth of food crops in the United States each year.
According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation— a nonprofit organization specializing in the conservation of invertebrate animals and their habitats—many pesticides harm pollinators by reducing their food supply and negatively affecting their reproduction, navigation, and memory. If exposed to a high enough dose, bees and other pollinators can be killed by coming into contact with pesticides.
According to "High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee Health," a study published in the journal PLOS One, almost 60 percent of bee wax and pollen samples tested in 2007 contained at least one pesticide.