So about all those missing bees? According to Wikileaks, the EPA killed them and forgot to tell anyone
So a year or so ago, the environmental story that got every hippie from the Keys to the Aleutians up in arms was the alarming drop in the number of honeybees in the US. Everyone seemed to have a different idea of what might be causing it— electromagnetic radiation, the hole in the ozone layer, global warming. But as it turns out that in a recently leaked Wikileaks document, the culprit was the EPA. Apparently the EPA had approved the widespread use of a pesticide that it knew was highly toxic to bees and was just like “Ah, fuck it.”
The leaked document (PDF) was put out in response to Bayer’s request to approve use of the pesticide on cotton and mustard. The document invalidates a prior Bayer study that justified the registration of clothianidin on the basis of its safety to honeybees:
Clothianidin’s major risk concern is to nontarget insects (that is, honey bees). Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic. Acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis. Although EFED does not conduct RQ based risk assessments on non-target insects, information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long-term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects.
The entire 101-page memo is damning (and worth a read). But the opinion of EPA scientists apparently isn’t enough for the agency, which is allowing clothianidin to keep its registration.
Suspicions about clothianidin aren’t new; the EPA’s Environmental Fate and Effects Division (EFAD) first expressed concern when the pesticide was introduced, in 2003, about the “possibility of toxic exposure to nontarget pollinators [e.g., honeybees] through the translocation of clothianidin residues that result from seed treatment.” Clothianidin was still allowed on the market while Bayer worked on a botched toxicity study [PDF], in which test and control fields were planted as close as 968 feet apart.
Read more here, thanks to Delsyd for the link
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