Issue Date: July 30, 2012
EPA Rejects Petition To Ban Insecticide Suspected In Bee Kills
EPA has rejected a request by antipesticide activists and commercial beekeepers to immediately suspend the use of products containing the insecticide clothianidin. A petition filed in March alleges that clothianidin poses an “imminent hazard” to honeybees. EPA agrees that clothianidin is “acutely toxic” to a range of insects, including bees. But the agency says there is no evidence that bees are being exposed to levels of the insecticide that would cause serious declines in the population. EPA also notes that clothianidin is used on 90% of the U.S. corn crop and says the benefits to farmers outweigh the risks to bees and the rest of the food supply that depends on bees for pollination. Peter Jenkins, an attorney at the Center for Food Safety and author of the petition, says EPA refused to consider additional information that came to light “as bees started dying in large numbers this spring during the April and May corn-planting season.” On average, the USDA reports, beekeepers have been losing more than 30% of their honeybee colonies each year since 2006.
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