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Across Ontario, 81 per cent urge government to act "as quickly as possible" to protect pollinators

TORONTO—More than 98 per cent of GTA residents are concerned about the threat posed by "neonic" pesticides to bees and other wildlife, a new poll shows.

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The poll, commissioned by Physicians for the Environment, Ontario Nature and the David Suzuki Foundation, also found more than eight out of 10 Ontarians want the government to act "as quickly as possible" to protect pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

"Our doctors have done environmental protection for 20 years and we've never found an issue on which there was more agreement," says Gideon Forman, executive director of Physicians for the Environment. "Virtually everyone polled in the GTA is concerned that neonic pesticides threaten bees and other wildlife."

Neonics are a class of pesticides used extensively on corn and other crops in Ontario. In a recent analysis from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an international team of 29 independent scientists looked at 800 peer-reviewed scientific reports and concluded that neonics "are a key factor in the decline of bees."

Because these pesticides threaten bees, butterflies and birds, Physicians for the Environment, Ontario Nature and the David Suzuki Foundation are urging the Government of Ontario to ban them.

"We're pleased that the vast majority of Ontarians agree with the experts and want the provincial government to act quickly to protect pollinators and other wildlife," says Caroline Schultz, executive director of Ontario Nature. "Neonics persist in the environment for months and even years, contaminating our soils and waterways."

Jode Roberts of the David Suzuki Foundation agrees: "More than half of Ontario's bee colonies died this winter. This is truly a crisis — not just for bees but for humans too. But the good news is there's still time to ban neonics — and doing so would be extremely popular."

For More Information:
Gideon Forman, Physicians for the Environment, (647) 703-5957
John Hassell, Communications Manager, Ontario Nature (416) 786-2171
Jode Roberts, Communications Strategist, David Suzuki Foundation (647) 456-9752

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August 19, 2014
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2014/08/98-of-gta-residents-concerned-about-neonic-pesticides-and-bees/