Indeed, there has not been much research that looks at the effects of neonics on humans and other mammals. The results so far suggest that certain neonics “may adversely affect human health, especially the developing brain,” according to a December study in PLoS ONE.
The European Union has banned the use of neonics on flowering plants and crops, but the United States has no such ban. The White House last week announced a task force to look at causes of pollinator collapse in the country, but any legislation is likely years away.
Currently, it falls to concerned organizations to raise awareness in companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s in the hopes that they will take action without direct legislation.
In a statement to DNews, Lowe’s said, in part: “Lowe’s supports ongoing efforts by the EPA and USDA to promote pollinator health, including the recently established Pollinator Health Task Force, which will work to foster a better understanding of pollinator losses, develop an education plan and seek ways to increase and improve pollinator habitats. We expect all of our vendors to abide by EPA guidelines regarding application and labeling of all pesticides.”
It also noted that Lowe’s offers organic pest control products.
Ron Jarvis, Vice President of Sustainability at The Home Depot, told DNews, “We want to do the right thing for the environment, for our customers and for the plants themselves.”
To that end, the company is working with suppliers to withhold neonics and test how well the plants survive at Home Depot stores. The company also is requiring its suppliers by end of 2014 to label plants that have been treated with neonics.
“Labelling is a great first step, but we would like them to move in the direction of getting neonics out of their plants altogether,” said Lisa Archer, Director of the Food and Technology Program at Friends of Earth and a co-author of the organization’s report.
So what can home gardeners do to help the critters who help them? Friends of Earth recommends planting bee-friendly flowers that you know come from a place that doesn’t use neonics on the plants or on the seeds they grow from.
Also, avoid products with neonics that go by the names Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam, it says.