On December 8, PAN joined Beyond Pesticides and beekeepers from around the country in breaking a story that is coming to be known as “Wik-Bee Leaks” or the “Clothianidin Controversy.” As media are reporting, bees are dying off while EPA turns a blind eye.
People are outraged and have been asking us what they can do.
Urging EPA to pull a bee-killing pesticide that Germany, Italy and France have already banned is an important first step. The Agency will need unprecedented public pressure to make use of its emergency powers. And you can bet Bayer will batle to keep this blockbuster product on the market. But we have to pick this fight. Here's why:
- U.S. bee populations are still declining and scientists believe pesticides are a critical piece of the puzzle. Clothianidin’s family of pesticides (neonicotinoids, including imidacloprid) are an especially suspect culprit.
- Clothianidin is on the U.S. market on the basis of unsound science and deeply flawed EPA decision-making. Like most pesticides registered in the last 15 years, it was rushed to market prior to safety testing with a “conditional registration.”
- Beekeepers can’t take another season of losses. Beekeepers tell us that like their hives, their industry is on the verge of collapse. With 1/3 of food reliant on bees for pollination, the collapse of commercial beekeeping would devastate U.S. farmers as well.
Thank you for taking a stand with beekeepers.
- EPA Administrator
Clothianidin is a widely used pesticide linked to a severe and dangerous decline in honeybee populations. We are writing to request that you take urgent action to stop the use of this toxic chemical. As we are sure you appreciate, the failure of the agency to provide adequate protection for pollinators creates an emergency with imminent hazards: Food production, public health and the environment are all seriously threatened, and the collapse of the commercial honeybee-keeping industry would result in economic harm of the highest magnitude for U.S. agriculture.
The science shows that clothianidin-contaminated pollen and nectar presents an imminent hazard. Because the hazards to honeybee health are present within registered use parameters, it is clear that label changes and use restrictions will not offer adequate protection. We therefore urge the agency to issue a stop use order immediately. Our nation cannot afford, and the environment cannot tolerate another growing season of clothianindin use.
In addition, because this problem reflects an overuse of the conditional registration program, we urge you to set an immediate moratorium on the use of such registrations until the program is fully evaluated for compliance with its underlying statutory responsibilities. The conditional registration of clothianidin in 2003 with outstanding data critical to its safety assessment represents a failure that could and should have been avoided.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter,
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