Another bee-harming pesticide? No thanks.
While European policymakers are taking steps to protect bees from harmful pesticides, EPA is poised to approve yet another bee-toxic pesticide for use here in the U.S.
Instead of following the science and protecting bees from known harms, the agency is set to conditionally register another new pesticide known to harm bees, sulfoxaflor, for a broad variety of uses.
Sulfoxaflor is a cousin to imidacloprid and clothianidin, with shared mechanisms of action (all work on the same bee brain synapses — nicotinic acetylcholine receptors)
We have between now and February 12 to send a clear message: Bees need protection from harmful pesticides, not more exposure. EPA decisionmakers, it's time to step up!
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
Washington, DC 20460-0001.
Re: Docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0889
Dear Administrator Jackson,
In 2010, an internal EPA memo revealed that the conditionally registered pesticide clothianidin was allowed to stay on the U.S. market despite the lack of a valid field study establishing that it is safe for honey bees. Since then, new compelling science has been published establishing that neonicotinoid pesticides like clothianidin — both alone and in combination with other pesticides and pathogens — are a clear causal factor in recent pollinator declines.
EPA is poised to conditionally register yet another systemic pesticide, sulfoxaflor, that poses an additional threat to bee populations. Studies on individual bees have shown this pesticide to be highly acutely toxic to honey bees, and broad or long-term colony health studies are inadequate or missing.
Additionally, sulfoxaflor shares mechanisms of action with neonicotinoids like imidacloprid and clothianidin (all work on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors) and represents comparable risk. As such, it should be considered a new subcategory of the neonicotinoid class, rather than its own class of insecticide, and does not meet the FIFRA criteria for conditional registration.
As you know, insect pollinators contribute $29 billion to the U.S. agricultural economy, with honey bees contributing a little over $19 billion of that. Continuing to lose a third of our honey bees each year is a significant cost that our economy, and beekeepers, cannot bear.
We urge EPA to follow the science and keep sulfoxaflor off the market. The potential risk to pollinators is just too great.
Above all, we ask that you find the courage and foresight to take action to protect bees before it is truly too late.