AB 1042 gives the Department of Pesticide Regulation the authority to regulate pesticides used to treat seeds, fixing glaring gap in DPR’s current jurisdiction. AB 363 will require the department to evaluate the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides.
- Sarah Goodman
Sacramento, CA – Yesterday, AB 1042 and today, AB 363authored by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer Kahan (D-Orinda) passed the Assembly floor. AB 1042 will ensure the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has authority to regulate pesticides used to treat seeds, fixing a glaring gap in DPR’s current jurisdiction. AB 363 will ensure DPR finishes its evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides, which are incredibly harmful to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
“Pesticides used on seeds are unregulated and unmonitored, leaving Californians without protections.” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “As a result, a huge volume of pesticide use in California is completely unknown. AB 1042 takes the long-overdue step of resolving this loophole. I’m proud to be continuing my work with both AB 363 and AB 1042 to protect the environment, human health, and save the bees!”
AB 1042 does not restrict pesticide use – it directs the department to adopt regulations of the pesticides used on seeds. In doing so it closes a major gap in authority to ensure illegal pesticides are eliminated and essential pesticides are used responsibly in California’s food system.
“These are hugely important bills aimed at protecting our wee bees,” said Laura Deehan, State Director for Environment California. “There’s a buzz in the state capitol around these measures, and we’re a step closer to catching up with other states that have already protected nature’s best pollinators.”
Pesticides used on seeds have serious implications for pollinator health, water quality, and exposure to unregulated toxics. Data by the California Department of Food and Agriculture shows that, between 2011 and 2021, dozens of pesticide products not approved for use in California appeared on seeds. These pesticides are systemic, which means they stay in the plants through their life cycle. When applied directly to a seed, 95% or more of the active ingredients typically stay in the soil, contaminating water supplies and food sources for years.
AB 363 simply requires DPR to evaluate neonicotinoid use in non-agricultural contexts. Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticides, and incredibly toxic to insects—just one square foot of grass treated with a typical neonic lawn product can contain enough neonics to kill one million bees. Most of the chemicals, however, stay in the soil, where they remain for years and are easily carried by rain or lawn watering.
“Neurotoxic neonic pesticides show up all over the state, from urban waterways to the bodies of pregnant women in California,” said Lucas Rhoads, Staff Attorney at Natural Resources Defense Council. “But so far, DPR has failed to look at the impacts of their use in urban and suburban areas where many Californians live, work, and play and where neonic water pollution is often the highest. AB 363 ensures that DPR takes a hard look at these harmful and unnecessary uses as soon as possible.”
“Neonicotinoids and their use on seeds are some of the gravest to California’s birds. Today’s passage of AB 1042 and AB 363 is a huge step forward in reversing bird declines” said E. Hardy Kern III with the American Bird Conservancy.
“The Department of Pesticide Regulation should regulate all the pesticides in our food system. It’s common sense to keep Californians safe” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan.