Bees have been dying off in the US at an alarming rate — nearly 30% of our bee population, per year, have been lost to so-called colony collapse since 2006.
Scientists have long thought that the pesticide clothianidin was at least partially to blame.1 But the EPA has repeatedly ignored scientists’ warnings and Americans’ urgings to ban its use, citing lack of evidence.
Now, a blockbuster study released this week by Europe’s leading food safety authority, EFSA, has for the first time labeled clothianidin as an “unacceptable” danger to bees.2
The EFSA study could be a major breakthrough to convince the EPA to take emergency action, and suspend the use of clothianidin to stop the precipitous decline in global honeybee populations.
In addition to finding clothianidin too dangerous to use on plants pollinated by bees, EFSA’s study specifically identifies as too flawed to be useful the shoddy studies provided by pesticide manufacturer Bayer as evidence of clothianidin’s safety. 3
It was these sham studies that EPA used to first approve clothianidin in 2003, even against the objections of EPA’s own scientists.4
The pesticide, which is used to treat seeds like corn and canola, expresses itself through the plants’ pollen and nectar — the honeybee’s favorite sources of food. Clothianidin is in a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are relatively new, and their use coincides with the rise of colony collapse.
If EPA does not take emergency action now, it won’t review clothianidin again until 2018.
Given the rate of colony collapse, and the indispensable role that pollinators play in our food system — pollinating one-third of our food crops and providing literally billions of dollars in economic benefit — it would be stunningly irresponsible of EPA to continue allowing the use of this dangerous pesticide for at least another five years.
Click below to automatically sign the petition urging EPA to take immediate action now:
Thank you for speaking out for the bees.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. “ Insecticide ‘unacceptable’ danger to bees, report finds,” Guardian, 1/16/13
2. “Pesticides and Honey Bees: State of the Science,” Pesticide Action Network North America
3. “European Agency concludes neonicotinoid pesticides too dangerous for bees,” NRDC, 1/16/13
4. “Leaked document shows EPA allowed bee-toxic pesticide despite own scientists’ red flags,” Grist, 12/10/10