Council Bans Neonicotinoid Pesticides on City Land

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City of Seattle

Council Bans Neonicotinoid Pesticides on City Land

SEATTLE – City Council prohibited use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides on all city-owned and operated land Monday, as this class of pesticide is linked with harm to critical pollinating insects, like bees. Washington’s agricultural economy and Seattle’s local gardens are dependent on bees and other pollinators, so City departments will seek to use only pollinator-friendly methods of weed and pest control in the future.

Seattle joins the Spokane, WA, Eugene, OR and other cities in its municipal-use ban.

"This is a modest step to help protect bees and other pollinators, which help make the Emerald City blossom every spring," said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. "I hope the City’s move helps raise awareness about what we can all be doing to promote the health of pollinators through sustainable pest management practices."

Neonicotinoids, one of the most widely used classes of insecticides in the world, are systemic, persistent neurotoxins that spread throughout a treated plant including to the pollen that is gathered by pollinators. An independent review of more than 800 scientific studies concluded that neonicotinoids are causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species and are a key factor in the decline of bees.

In August 2014 the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans to phase out use of neonicotinoids on National Wildlife Refuges across the country, and the US Geological Survey released information on the pervasive appearance of neonicotinoids in aquatic environments throughout the Midwest.

Resolution 31548 was unanimously adopted by the Seattle City Council on Monday, September 23, with the Mayor in concurrence. The Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Center, Finance and Administrative Services, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Libraries all made the recommendation to eliminate the use of neonicotinoids at City facilities.

[View in Council Newsroom]