CT General Assembly Bills Address Pesticide Use
Friday, May 19, 2023
Connecticut's General Assembly is considering legislation which would end the use of certain types of pesticides in the state.
Senate Bill 962 and Senate Bill 963 aim to restrict the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides and neonicotinoids to protect wildlife populations.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, second-generation rodenticides pose greater risks to non-targeted species when they are used.
Ann Gadwah, advocacy and outreach coordinator for the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club, pointed out there are alternatives to the chemicals.
"There's first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides that people can use," Gadwah explained. "There's a form of 'rat birth control' that people can use, so it keeps the population down; because that's the problem; they reproduce very quickly."
She added traditional methods from cats to nonpoisonous traps are alternatives less harmful to the environment. While the bill has wide-ranging support, it did receive some opposition at a public hearing, predominantly from pest-control professionals. Since they're trained to use these chemicals, they feel banning them entirely is going too far. Currently, the bill is tabled for the calendar in the state Senate.
Birds in the state, such as raptors and hawks, have been those most exposed to secondary poisonings from use of the pesticides.
Patrick Comins, executive director of the Connecticut Audubon Society, noted the pesticides also affect insects.
"Every part of the plant becomes toxic to insects, including our pollinators, which are important food sources for birds," Comins emphasized. "Also, they're water-soluble, so that they get into the water table and into aquatic ecosystems and harm our aquatic insects as well - both beneficial and non-beneficial insects."
Bans on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides are slowly coming about. Along with the town of Arlington, Massachusetts, the state of California and the Canadian province of British Columbia have banned them.
Similar bans are being considered in New York state, and in the U.S. Senate.
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