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New Jersey Lawmaker Sponsors Bill That Would Protect Bees By Outlawing Certain Pesticides

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- There is a new proposal in New Jersey that would save a vital part of the state's agriculture industry. The legislation would ban certain pesticides that kill bee colonies.

Jersey tomatoes, blueberries and more -- New Jersey is called the "Garden State" for a reason. Farming is a billion-dollar industry and it needs bees to survive.

Ed Potosnak is the executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.

"About 1 in 3 bites of food that we put in our mouth is made possible because of bees. Forty to 50% our bees are disappearing in the last decade, and that's a lot and it's causing a need for us to act," Potosnak told CBS2's Meg Baker on Wednesday.

Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese is sponsoring a bill that will help save these pollinators.

"What this bill does is that it will prohibit the use of a chemical called the neonicotinoid, which has been linked to hurting the pollinators," Calabrese said.

Potosnak said these type of pesticides, used to kill grubs and other insects, also make it impossible for bees to propagate and pollinate, and harm other species like fish.

"The concern here is really related to residential use. We see a spike in the amount of neonics that are found in the water in our most densely populated counties, our non-agricultural counties," Potosnak said.

He said many pesticides find their way into our food supply and then into our bodies, which can cause cancer and other disorders.

If the bill passes, these types of pesticides will not be available on store shelves anymore.

Environmentalists suggest checking with your landscapers to make sure that none of the products they use have neonics in them.

The bill was already passed by the Senate and is awaiting vote in assembly. Then it would head to Gov. Phil Murphy's desk.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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