Poisonous chemicals that can “decimate the population” of bees, butterflies and other pollinators would essentially be banned in Chicago under a crackdown proposed by a rookie alderman.
Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) is taking aim at neonicotinoids.
Lopez introduced an ordinance last week that would prohibit “any person, organization and/or community garden operator” from using an insecticide classified as a neonicotinoid. The only exceptions would be veterinarians, farmers and certified pesticide applicators.
Neonicotinoids include imidacloprid, nithiazine, acetmiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. These insecticides are water soluble, so they can be sprayed on plants or applied to the soil. They are more toxic to insects than to mammals and birds.
Pesticides containing neonicotinoids are not used on city property. But the products are widely used by landscapers, farmers and homeowners. Many flea powders for cats and dogs also contain a neonicotinoid.
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Lopez said the only people disputing scientific studies on the negative impact of neonicotinoids “are those making a profit off them.” Fifty years ago, the same forces were “dragging their feet over DDT,” he said.
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“There are plenty of other less harmful options for consumers who want to control pests. Chicago can be a national leader on this issue.”
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