Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., a maker of lawn and garden products, announced Tuesday that its Ortho brand would phase out in North America a group of insecticides linked to the collapse of bee colonies.
The company, which moved to Marysville, Ohio, after Port Washington-based Miracle-Gro acquired Scotts in 1995, said that the Ortho brand would halt the use of imidacloprid, clothianidin and dinotefuran, a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, by 2017. Scotts Miracle-Gro still has offices on Long Island.
Ortho also plans to remove five additional neonicotinoids — also known as neonics — from its products by 2021, making Scotts’ entire North American product line free of the class of insecticides, said Tim Martin, general manager of the Ortho brand. Neonics can disrupt the nervous system of insects.
“This decision comes after careful consideration regarding the range of possible threats to honey bees and other pollinators,” Martin said. “While agencies in the United States are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it’s time for Ortho to move on.”
Scotts Miracle-Gro also announced a multiyear partnership with the Pollinator Stewardship Council, a national pollinator advocacy group.
Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Farmingdale-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said that neonics can interfere with pollinators’ foraging and navigation functions.
“We’ve been trying to get the Department of Environmental Conservation to ban imidacloprid, the second most common pesticide found in Long Island’s ground water,” she said. “It’s a good day for the bees and for public health.”
Home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s also have announced efforts to limit the use of neonics.
Scotts Miracle-Gro also said it would work with the pollinator group on efforts to get government regulators to allow product labeling that makes it clear to consumers which products have neonicotinoids.
Neonics are used in a number of chemicals applied to food and textile crops such as corn and cotton, as well as individual gardens.
Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, the top manufacturers of neonics, have said that research has exaggerated the risks and understated the benefits of the chemicals.
With The Associated Press