Maryland legislators enact ban on neonicotinoid pesticides to help bee population

Maryland lawmakers this week voted to curb the sale of certain pest control products to home gardeners after reviewing studies that point to the harmful effects some lawn chemicals have on bees and other pollinators.

The legislation prohibits the retail sale and household use of neonicotinoid pesticides, a class of insect repellent that attacks the nervous system and paralyzes pests, beginning in 2018, but commercial uses would still be permitted.

Both the House and Senate versions of the bill passed 99-38 in the House of Delegates at the end of the week. The legislation was contentious, and supporters and opponents each pointed to studies that indicated conflicting effects on bee populations due to the neonicotinoids.

Gov. Larry Hogan is reviewing the legislation, a spokeswoman said Friday.

“Consumers tend to overuse product supplies in retail stores, and making some dent in neonic use by restricting them to certified applicators, farmers and veterinarians is important because those people are better trained to use those products,” said Delegate Anne Healey, D-Prince George’s, a House bill sponsor. “The preponderance of science is huge, and it’s confirmed in the independent science community.”

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