Recent declines in honeybee populations and the impact on food crops should trigger the EPA to immediately suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and to investigate a possible link between the use of these common pesticides and reductions in the honeybee population. Honey bees are responsible for pollination of approximately one third of the United States’ crop species, including such species as almonds, peaches, soybeans, apples, pears, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers and strawberries. Bee pollination contributes an estimated $15 billion in additional crop yields.
Recent research has found that certain members of a group of related pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, may be jeopardizing bee populations and with them important food crops and jobs. France, Germany and Italy have banned neonicotinoids based on indications that the insecticides could be linked to honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (“CCD”). Internal EPA reports dating back to 2003 show that EPA scientist have raised serious concerns about the use of neonicotinoids. While these warnings are very specific in the EPA’s internal documents, both USDA and EPA have avoided targeting neonicotinoids in their published documents, instead calling for “further study” rather than any restrictions on use. The Union asks that Congress direct the EPA:
- To immediately suspend the use of neonicotinoids (“NN”) – a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, with a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death – until such time as the Agency can definitively state that NNs are not the cause or a contributory cause of CCD.
- To investigate the impacts of this class of pesticides on honeybees and other pollinators.
- To report on the steps the Agency has taken to ensure there is sufficient scientific evidence to make informed decisions about the impacts of neonicotinoids on pollinators.
- To report what additional steps the Agency intends to take to limit or restrict the use of these pesticides and reduce the impact on bee populations. Continue reading “Please – It’s About the Bees!”