The Ortho pest control company will phase out use of a pesticide linked to declining bee populations, a problem that has threatened U.S. agricultural productivity, the company said Tuesday.
The company will eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides, known as neonics for short, in three product lines by 2017, with others to follow.
Recent research has shown that bees and other pollinators face a number of threats that have contributed to their declining population in North America. Growing evidence has suggested that neonics disrupt the normal functioning of bees, making them more vulnerable to ailments that eventually lead to death. That’s bad news for U.S. agriculture. More than 90 commercial crops in the U.S. rely on pollinators like bees, according to a White House report.
Read More: The Plight of the Honeybee
Tim Martin, general manager of the Ortho brand, billed the change as an opportunity to lead on the issue. “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,” he said in a press release. “It is our responsibility to provide consumers with effective solutions that they know are safe for their family and the environment.”