Pesticide-coated seeds are killing wildlife

A single pesticide-coated seed is potent enough to kill a songbird.


Tom Koerner/USFWS | Public Domain

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Our environment is more toxic to birds and bees than ever before, and neonic-coated seeds are a big part of the problem. Neonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) poison birds, bees, and more when they are used on crops. A single pesticide-coated seed is potent enough to kill a songbird. 

Each year, over 150 million acres of U.S. farmland are planted with neonic-coated seeds. The coating prevents pests from consuming seeds before they have a chance to germinate and grow. But neonic-coated seeds also grow into crops that have toxic neonics suffusing every plant part, including pollen and nectar. The use of these toxic chemicals—in any format—doesn’t just harm pests. It proves deadly to wildlife and pollinators, while posing a threat to human health. 

The pesticide coating used on these seeds can get washed off in water, meaning the toxic compound leaks and spreads through our soil and streams to affect mammals, fish and birds. Neonic-coated seed plantings can also result in clouds of pesticide-laced dust contaminating the air.

Tractor spraying pesticides over farm on sunny day
Oticki |

For the sake of birds, bees and more, we need to stop pouring toxic pesticides into our environment in the form of these poisonous seeds—but a massive loophole means that seeds coated in neonics aren’t even being regulated properly as pesticides by the EPA.

Winning regulations to control toxic neonicotinoids is possible. We helped convince New York lawmakers to regulate the use of neonic-coated seeds in their state—and with your support, we can keep that momentum going.

We’re working on convincing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to properly regulate neonic-coated seeds nationwide. But we can make vital progress to protect wildlife right now by convincing individual states to follow in New York’s footsteps and phase out this form of toxic pesticide.

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diapicard |

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