For decades, Minnesota has been a national conservation leader. Our leadership role is still active today, especially on issues concerning clean water and pollinators.
Conservation Minnesota worked for years to get microbeads, found in personal care products and cosmetics, out of our lakes and rivers. Wastewater treatment plants are unable to remove the small bits of plastic which accumulate in our waters. As Minnesota was on the verge of joining partner states by passing a microbeads ban in 2016, federal officials took note, and passed a nationwide ban. Microbeads are now banned in all personal care products and cosmetics.
In a similar story, Minnesotans recognized the chemical ‘triclosan,’ an additive in antibacterial soap, was polluting our lakes and rivers. Research has shown the chemical as ineffective, and there was growing concern of unintended consequences as a hormone disruptor with other negative health effects. The Friends of the Mississippi River and National Park Service spearheaded the triclosan movement, and in 2014 Conservation Minnesota helped pass Minnesota’s strong ban. Recognizing the good leadership from Minnesota, just this year, the FDA took the extraordinary step of banning triclosan in over the counter hand and body washes.
Neonicotinoids, or “Neonics,” are pesticides widely used in agriculture to protect commercial crops. However, research is showing that neonics have deadly consequences for species not targeted by the pesticide, especially pollinators like bees and butterflies. This fall, Governor Mark Dayton issued an executive order directing state government to take steps to reverse pollinator decline and restore pollinator habitat. This leadership should help reduce the amount of harmful neonics and further strengthen Minnesota’s position as a national leader protecting and restoring pollinators.
Conservation Minnesota is proud of the leadership the state has taken, and we plan to continue that leadership as we work to protect the Minnesota you love.