In the next week, the EPA is expected to issue a decision on the pesticide Clothianidin — which scientists believe is a major factor in this alarming decline in U.S honey bee populations, known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
Since 2006, one third of U.S honey bee populations have been dying off yearly. One third. Every year. That’s a terrible rate of species destruction on its own, but it’s also a serious threat to our food supply. Honey bees play a crucial role by pollinating 71 of the 100 most common crops, which account for 90% of the world’s food supply.1
More than 125,000 CREDO Activists joined the Pesticide Action Network and other groups this March in urging the EPA to suspend its approval of Clothianidin.
The EPA is about to respond, but if the agency doesn’t actually act, it likely won’t review Clothianidin again until 2018 — and by then it could be too late for the bees.
While the causes of Colony Collapse disorder are complex, studies are increasingly pointing to the role played by pesticides like Clothianidin.
Produced by the German corporation Bayer CropScience, it is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola, and works by expressing itself in the plants’ pollen and nectar. Not coincidentally, these are some of honey bees’ favorite sources of food.
Shockingly, Clothianidin was approved without any independent study verifying its safety. The Pesticide was conditionally approved for use in 2003, and then fully approved by the EPA in 2010, on the basis of only one test conducted by Bayer, which EPA scientists later said was unsound and not sufficient to be the grounds for unconditional approval of the pesticide.2
Clothianidin has already been banned in France, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany — the home of Bayer — but it continues to be applied to over 100 million acres here in the U.S., at the peril of bees and our ability to produce foods like apples, blueberries, almonds, pumpkins and dozens of other vital crops.
For the EPA to take action and suspend the use of Clothianidin it must declare bee die-offs to be an “imminent hazard.” And with massive continuing die-offs of the species that is a cornerstone of our crop production, it’s clear that is the case.
For too long, the EPA has turned a blind eye to the problem, trusting a sham study by pesticide makers over the mounting evidence that Clothianidin is not safe for our food system. It’s time for the EPA to ban Clothianidin and save the bees.
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Thanks for defending the bees.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets