Wednesday, September 03, 2008

NRDC Sues EPA For Bee CCD Pesticide Information

Aug 18: The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit to uncover critical information which they say the U.S. government is withholding about the risks posed by pesticides to honey bees. NRDC legal experts and a leading bee researcher say they are convinced that U.S. EPA has evidence of connections between pesticides and the mysterious honey bee die-offs reported across the country. The phenomenon has come to be called “colony collapse disorder,” or CCD, and according to a release from NRDC "it is already proving to have disastrous consequences for American agriculture and the $15 billion worth of crops pollinated by bees every year."

EPA failed to respond to NRDC’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for agency records concerning the toxicity of pesticides to bees, which precipitated the legal action. NRDC Senior Attorney Aaron Colangelo said, “Recently approved pesticides have been implicated in massive bee die-offs and are the focus of increasing scientific scrutiny. EPA should be evaluating the risks to bees before approving new pesticides, but now refuses to tell the public what it knows. Pesticide restrictions might be at the heart of the solution to this growing crisis, so why hide the information they should be using to make those decisions?”

In its release NRDC indicates that in 2003, EPA granted a registration to a new pesticide manufactured by Bayer CropScience under the condition that Bayer submit studies about its product’s impact on bees. NRDC said EPA has refused to disclose the results of these studies, or if the studies have been submitted. They said the pesticide in question, clothianidin, recently was banned in Germany due to concerns about its impact on bees. A similar insecticide was banned in France for the same reason a couple of years before. NRDC indicates that In the United States, these chemicals still are in use despite a growing consensus among bee specialists that pesticides, including clothianidin and its chemical cousins, may contribute to CCD.

In the past two years, some American beekeepers have reported unexplained losses of 30-90% of the bees in their hives. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), bees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops grown in America. USDA also claims that one out of every three mouthfuls of food in the typical American diet has a connection to bee pollination. NRDC warns that as the die-offs worsen, Americans will see their food costs increase.

Access a release from NRDC and link to additional information (click here). Access WIMS-eNewsUSA posts on CCD (click here). [*Wildlife, *Agriculture]