START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
2,614,130 people care about Environment & Wildlife

Why Isn’t The EPA Doing Something About Bee-Killing Insecticides?

Why Isn’t The EPA Doing Something About Bee-Killing Insecticides?

What do France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Slovenia have in common? They’ve all taken action to suspend or restrict the use of insecticides that have been linked to the rapid and devastating decline in global bee populations. Even Britain is currently taking steps to assess the risk to bees. The United States remains the only major nation to turn a deaf ear to cries for action. And the global community wants to know why.

A just-released series of reports by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found that the main neonicotinoid insecticides — clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid — present both acute and chronic risks to the survival of honey bees and other beneficial insects. Previously, the U.S.-based Center for Food Safety (CFS) has urged the EPA to suspend use of these insecticides until it can rule out their damaging effects. The response makes molasses look like a track star. Even more troubling is the fact that they haven’t even pumped the brakes on new bee-killing insecticides.

Neonicotinoids are a newer class of systemic insecticide chemicals that are absorbed by plants and transported throughout the plant’s vascular tissue, making the entire plant potentially toxic to insects. Neonicotinoid chemicals were first registered by the EPA in the 1990s and came into heavy use in the mid-2000s, which just happens to be the same time beekeepers started observing widespread cases of Colony Collapse Disorder — the emptying and vanishing of whole hives for no apparent reason.

Despite this troubling coincidence, the EPA has continued to approve more than 100 neonicotinoid products for unrestricted use on dozens of crops, including the vast majority of corn seed planted in North America, cotton, soybeans and dozens of other crops covering an estimated 200 million total acres.

“EPA cannot continue to condone the use of chemicals responsible for the wholesale killing of our pollinators and the irreparable damage of the U.S. food supply,” said Center for Food Safety attorney Peter Jenkins. “Many of the most scientifically and agriculturally advanced nations have seen the dangers these neonicotinoids present and are reacting,” said Jenkins. “The question is why isn’t the U.S.?”

Normally environmentalists and  industry are at odds when it come to chemical use. But in this situation, we’re both really on the same side. Bees are ESSENTIAL for agriculture. If their population becomes to sparse, or disappears completely, the food industry will suffer dramatic losses. Cross-pollination accomplished by bees and other pollinators is essential to at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of wild plants. Simply put, without bees to spread seeds, many plants—including food crops—would die off. So just exactly who is the EPA protecting by not investigating this problem to the fullest?

In March 2012, the Center for Food Safety and a coalition including 25 prominent beekeepers filed an Emergency Petition with the EPA asking the agency to suspend the use of certain neonicotinoids until they are proven safe to pollinators, the environment and future food security. The agency indicated it will not finish its Registration Review for these substances until 2018.

 

Related Reading:

Research Firm Blames Monsanto For Bee Deaths…So Monsanto Buys It

3 Studies Link Common Pesticides To Bee Decline [Slideshow]

Why Are Bees Making Blue Honey?

 

Read more: , , , , , , ,

Image via Thinkstock

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

161 comments

+ add your own
7:48AM PDT on Jun 7, 2013

There aren't any bees in my neighborhood, not at all. They began disappearing last summer. I'm trying to buy bees and start a hive, buying season is Dec-Jan. They say another reason for hive collapse is that beekeepers take too much honey out of hives, and replace the honey with fructose. That's like bread and water for us. The bees are suffering from immune deficiency-they need the pollen and vitamins in the honey, meanwhile the birds and roadrunners won't have any of my fruit to eat, flowers won't reproduce.

6:21AM PDT on May 29, 2013

Why do you THINK the U.S. is doing nothing to ban these insecticides ???....... are you kidding me ???...... what a ridiculous question when it is obvious that the cause is our being the the country with not only an ignorant populace, but a govt. bought and paid for by corporate slime like Monsanto. Wipe every trace of Monsanto and similar corporate ilk off the planet and we MIGHT have a shot at survival........... maybe !

12:13PM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

Genetically modified crops are contributing to an increased use of pesticides, unfortunately.

10:41PM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

Get with USA as European countries are helping bees and banning pesticides when will we step up tp the plate? When they are no plants left??

10:26PM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

If you love nature and people, please view! http://www.marklynas.org/2013/01/lecture-to-oxford-farming-conference-3-january-2013/ Also, many bees die from consumers indiscriminately spraying wasps. I don't see where the article says GMOs are killing bees. It says pesticides are killing bees. I thought one of the major points of GMO was to reduce chemical use. Anyway, check out the link.

6:32AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

The EPA is a joke...monsanto has too much power...without bees everyone will be forced to use monsantos gm seeds.

5:50PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

We know why the US isn't doing anything about toxins. The producers of the toxins are making a LOT of money, and money equals power, and power equals control. Unfortunately this power has control in the government as well. As usual, the burden falls upon "the people" to take action...to stop buying and using harmful chemicals, to buy local and to demand organic goods.

10:45AM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

President Obama, gives wonderful speeches...but is seemingly afraid of "Corporate America"...action speaks louder than any "address"...no matter who gives it...

4:07PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

While the government is in Monsanto and the pesticide makers pockets, nothing will be done. We need to get them out of our government!

3:59PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

meet our writers

Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.